The phagocytosis and killing of 3H-thymidine-labelled Staphylococcus aureus by polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMNs) and monocytes (MNs) obtained from 50 health donors were evaluated. In addition, extracellular factors that might influence phagocytosis and killing were studied. The method described gave highly reproducible results. No significant difference was observed in the phagocytic and killing functions of a single donor's PMNs and MNs when studied several times in one day and longitudinally over a period of 1-12 weeks for six donors tested. Likewise, no signigicant difference in uptake and killing was observed when bacteria were opsonised with sera from 11 different normal donors. When Staph. aureus opsonised with normal serum was added to the leucocytes in a ratio of 10 bacteria: 1 leucocyte, the uptake by PMNs and MNs from 50 donors after 20 minutes' incubation was 85% +/- 7 standard deviation (SD) (range 75-98%) and 69% +/- 11 SD (range 54-90%), respectively. The rate of uptake by MNs in the first three minutes of the assay period was only 60% of that by PMNs.
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