1. The metabolism of mouse thioglycollate-elicited peritoneal macrophages was studied in culture for up to 96 h. 2. The rates of glycolysis, lactate formation and glutamine utilization were approximately linear with time for at least 80 h of culture. 3. The rates of glucose and glutamine utilization by cultured macrophages were approx. 500 and 90 nmol/h per mg of protein respectively. This rate of glucose utilization is at least 50% greater than that previously reported for macrophages during 60 min incubation in a shaking flask; and it is now increased by addition of glutamine to the culture medium. The rate of glutamine utilization in culture is similar to that previously reported for macrophages during 60 min incubation. The major end-product of glucose metabolism is lactate, and those of glutamine metabolism are CO2, glutamate, ammonia and alanine. 4. Oleate was utilized by these cells: 14C from [14C]oleate was incorporated into CO2 and cellular lipid. The highest rate of oleate utilization was observed when both glucose and glutamine were present in the culture medium. The presence of oleate in the culture medium did not affect the rates of utilization of either glucose or glutamine. Of the [14C]oleate incorporated into lipid, approx. 80% was incorporated into triacylglycerol and only 18% into phospholipid. 5. The turnover rate for the total ATP content of the macrophage in culture is about 10 times per minute: the value for the perfused isolated maximally working rat heart is 22. This indicates a high metabolic rate for macrophages, and consequently emphasizes the importance of the provision of fuels for their function in an immune response.

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