The concentrations of ATP and the ATP/AMP concentration ratios were maintained in thioglycollate-elicited mouse peritoneal macrophages incubated in vitro for 90 min in the presence or absence of added substrate: rates of glycolysis, lactate formation and glutamine utilization were approximately linear with time for at least 60 min of incubation. The rate of oxygen consumption by macrophages was only increased above the basal rate (i.e. that in the absence of added substrate) by addition of succinate or pyruvate, or by addition of the uncoupling agent carboxyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (‘CCCP’); it was decreased by 75% by the addition of KCN. These findings suggest that metabolism of endogenous substrate can provide most, if not all, of the energy requirement of these cells, at least for a short period. The rates of glucose and glutamine utilization by incubated macrophages were approx. 300 and 100 nmol/min per mg of protein respectively. A large proportion of the glutamine that is utilized is converted into glutamate and aspartate, and very little (perhaps less than 10%) is oxidized. Similarly almost all of the glucose that is utilized is converted into lactate and very little is oxidized. This characteristic is similar to that of resting lymphocytes and rapidly dividing cells; in non-proliferating macrophages it may be a mechanism to provide precision in control of the rate of biosynthetic processes that utilize intermediates of these pathways, e.g. purines and pyrimidines for mRNA for the synthesis of secretory proteins and glycerol 3-phosphate for phospholipid synthesis for membrane recycling. No utilization of acetoacetate or 3-hydroxybutyrate by macrophages was detected. In contrast, both butyrate and oleate were oxidized. The rate of [14C]oleate conversion into 14CO2 (1.3 nmol/h per mg of protein) could account for most of the oxygen consumption by incubated macrophages, suggesting that long-chain fatty acids might provide an important fuel in situ. This may be one explanation for the secretion of lipoprotein lipase by these cells, to provide fatty acids for oxidation from the degradation of local triacylglycerol.
- © 1987 London: The Biochemical Society