Maximum activities of some key enzymes of metabolism were studied in elicited (inflammatory) macrophages of the mouse and lymph-node lymphocytes of the rat. The activity of hexokinase in the macrophage is very high, as high as that in any other major tissue of the body, and higher than that of phosphorylase or 6-phosphofructokinase, suggesting that glucose is a more important fuel than glycogen and that the pentose phosphate pathway is also important in these cells. The latter suggestion is supported by the high activities of both glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase. However, the rate of glucose utilization by ‘resting’ macrophages incubated in vitro is less than the 10% of the activity of 6-phosphofructokinase: this suggests that the rate of glycolysis is increased dramatically during phagocytosis or increased secretory activity. The macrophages possess higher activities of citrate synthase and oxoglutarate dehydrogenase than do lymphocytes, suggesting that the tricarboxylic acid cycle may be important in energy generation in these cells. The activity of 3-oxoacid CoA-transferase is higher in the macrophage, but that of 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase is very much lower than those in the lymphocytes. The activity of carnitine palmitoyltransferase is higher in macrophages, suggesting that fatty acids as well as acetoacetate could provide acetyl-CoA as substrate for the tricarboxylic acid cycle. No detectable rate of acetoacetate or 3-hydroxybutyrate utilization was observed during incubation of resting macrophages, but that of oleate was 1.0 nmol/h per mg of protein or about 2.2% of the activity of palmitoyltransferase. The activity of glutaminase is about 4-fold higher in macrophages than in lymphocytes, which suggests that the rate of glutamine utilization could be very high. The rate of utilization of glutamine by resting incubated macrophages was similar to that reported for rat lymphocytes, but was considerably lower than the activity of glutaminase.

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