Phagocytic defensive functions consist of a sequence of events, including migration, phagocytosis, secretion, and the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The last of these (also called 'oxidative burst') has not received due attention in the elderly, even though it can be considered the most important event in the process of killing an invading microorganism. The aim of the present study was to investigate the oxidative burst activity of polymorphonuclear neutrophil leukocytes (PMNs) in relation to age, using a technique that specifically identifies ROS production: luminol-amplified chemiluminescence (LACL). Besides the use of LACL, a particular feature of the study was the use of five rather than just one or two different stimulants: two particulate (Candida albicans and zymosan) and three soluble ones [N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (fMLP), phorbol 12 myristate 13 acetate (PMA), and polyanetholesulfonate (liquoid)]. This approach allowed us to observe a dichotomy between the effects of Candida and zymosan (particulates), which were not significantly different in the elderly subjects compared to the young controls, and those of fMLP, PMA, and liquoid (solubles), which showed a significant reduction in LACL in the elderly group. Considering the different results obtained with the various stimulants adopted that are all believed to have NADPH oxidase as a common final target of oxidative burst, it may be postulated that aging can influence the different transductional pathways in different ways.
- Candida albicans
- Luminol-amplified chemiluminescence
- Oxidative burst
ASJC Scopus subject areas