Human bronchoalveolar lavage cells from several different disease states were examined by the technique of zymosan-stimulated, luminol-dependent chemiluminescence. Light production correlated well with polymorphonuclear leucocyte contamination of the alveolar macrophage suspension but not with lymphocyte contamination. Regression analysis indicated that human alveolar macrophages produce little if any luminol-dependent chemiluminescence. Further investigation of metabolic activity, using measurements of superoxide release, oxygen consumption, and lucigenin-dependent chemiluminescence, showed that "respiratory burst" activity in alveolar macrophages was stimulated by opsonised zymosan.
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