Sulphatides are sulphate esters of galactocerebrosides that are present on the surfaces of many cell types and act as specific ligands to selectins. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of sulphatides on polymorphonuclear granulocyte (PMN) attachment, spreading and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) metabolism. Sulphatides, but not non-sulphated galactocerebrosides, dose-dependently enhanced attachment to collagen, as measured by the myeloperoxidase assay. Studies with blocking antibodies indicated that the increased attachment was mediated by CD11b/CD18 (Mac-1) β2 integrin. Scanning electron microscopy indicated that sulphatides also greatly enhanced the degree of cell spreading. In PMNs treated in suspension, sulphatides had no effect on the ionophore A23187-stimulated release of arachidonic acid and the synthesis of 5-LO metabolites. In contrast, in PMNs attached to collagen, the enzymic conversion of arachidonic acid by 5-LO was inhibited by sulphatides. Inhibition of 5-LO metabolism by sulphatides was observed even in the presence of exogenous substrate, suggesting that sulphatides directly inhibited 5-LO action. Consistent with this, sulphatides interfered with ionophore-induced translocation of the 5-LO to the nuclear envelope. Substances competing with sulphatide binding to cells, like dextran sulphate, or a strong inhibitor of cell spreading, like the actin-polymerizing agent jasplakinolide, prevented the effects of sulphatides on PMN attachment and spreading and leukotriene synthesis. We conclude that shape changes occurring in response to sulphatides specifically impair PMN leukotriene synthesis by inhibiting translocation of 5-LO.

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