A method is described for the evaluation of the total 3H-uridine incorporated by macrophages in vitro into trichloroacetic acid (TCA)-precipitable material. The technique is based upon solubilization of the macrophage monolayers by guanidine-HCl, followed by TCA precipitation. The recovery of RNA into the precipitate and the reproducibility of the results were strictly dependent on the use of filtered reagents and on incubation of the TCA precipitate for 2 or more hours at 4d̀ C before harvesting. Treatment with guanidine-HCl did not affect the recovery of labeled RNA. Moreover, we observed that radioactive precipitate had the characteristics of RNA, since its recovery was sensitive to the addition of unlabeled uridine in the culture medium and to the treatment of the macrophages with inhibitors of RNA synthesis, but not of protein synthesis. Tritiated uridine incorporation in microcultures of macrophages can be assessed with this technique, by processing the cells directly in the wells. The main advantages of this procedure are: 1) the radioactivity can be measured by semiautomatic cell harvesters, 2) a small number of macrophages are required, and 3) many samples can be processed simultaneously. Overall, the technique is simple, rapid, and could be successfully adapted to study other metabolic pathways.
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