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Haematological effects of inhalation of N-formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine in man.
  1. M J Peters,
  2. A B Breslin,
  3. A S Kemp,
  4. J Chu,
  5. N Berend
  1. Department of Thoracic Medicine, Concord Hospital, Sydney, Australia.


    BACKGROUND: N-Formyl-methionyl-leucyl-phenylalanine (FMLP) is a bacterial oligopeptide which stimulates neutrophil chemotaxis, degranulation and superoxide generation. Inhalation of FMLP produces bronchoconstriction in man; in the rabbit this is in part neutrophil dependent. The effects of inhalation of FMLP on peripheral blood leucocytes in normal subjects has been studied. METHODS: This was an open study in non-asthmatic subjects. Change in total peripheral white cell count were studied for 15 minutes after inhalation of 0.4 mumol FMLP in six subjects. Change in total and differential white cell count and spontaneous neutrophil chemiluminescence were then studied five and 30 minutes after inhalation of 0.4 mumol FMLP (n = 7) or diluent (n = 4). Finally, leucocytes from three subjects were labelled ex vivo with technetium-99m labelled sulphur colloid and reinfused. The effect of inhalation of FMLP or diluent on pulmonary neutrophil flux was studied by continuous gamma scanning of a pulmonary window. RESULTS: Leucopenia occurs rapidly after inhalation of FMLP, the nadir of the white cell count (53% of baseline) occurring at four minutes. This was followed by a rebound increase in white cell count evident at 15 minutes (154% of baseline). Five minutes after inhalation of 0.4 mumol FMLP, neutropenia (17% of baseline) and monocytopenia (40% of baseline) were seen followed again by a neutrophilia (213% of baseline at 30 minutes). The eosinophil count was significantly reduced at 30 minutes (24% of baseline). Neutrophil chemiluminescence was elevated (186% of baseline) at the time of the neutropenia. There was no influx of labelled cells to the lung during the period of neutropenia. CONCLUSION: FMLP inhalation activates circulating leucocytes. In vivo production of FMLP in the airway could contribute to bronchial inflammation during bacterial infection.

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