Stimulated neutrophils discharge large quantities of superoxide (O2.-), which dismutates to form H2O2. In combination with Cl-, H2O2 is converted into the potent oxidant hypochlorous acid (HOCl) by the haem enzyme myeloperoxidase. We have used an H2O2 electrode to monitor H2O2 uptake by myeloperoxidase, and have shown that in the presence of Cl- this accurately represents production of HOCl. Monochlorodimedon, which is routinely used to assay production of HOCl, inhibited H2O2 uptake by 95%. This result confirms that monochlorodimedon inhibits myeloperoxidase, and that the monochlorodimedon assay grossly underestimates the activity of myeloperoxidase. With 10 microM-H2O2 and 100 mM-Cl-, myeloperoxidase had a neutral pH optimum. Increasing the H2O2 concentration to 100 microM lowered the pH optimum to pH 6.5. Above the pH optimum there was a burst of H2O2 uptake that rapidly declined due to accumulation of Compound II. High concentrations of H2O2 inhibited myeloperoxidase and promoted the formation of Compound II. These effects of H2O2 were decreased at higher concentrations of Cl-. We propose that H2O2 competes with Cl- for Compound I and reduces it to Compound II, thereby inhibiting myeloperoxidase. Above pH 6.5, O2.- generated by xanthine oxidase and acetaldehyde prevented H2O2 from inhibiting myeloperoxidase, increasing the initial rate of H2O2 uptake. O2.- allowed myeloperoxidase to function optimally with 100 microM-H2O2 at pH 7.0. This occurred because, as previously demonstrated, O2.- prevents Compound II from accumulating by reducing it to ferric myeloperoxidase. In contrast, at pH 6.0, where Compound II did not accumulate, O2.- retarded the uptake of H2O2. We propose that by generating O2.- neutrophils prevent H2O2 and other one-electron donors from inhibiting myeloperoxidase, and ensure that this enzyme functions optimally at neutral pH.

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