Evidence for transcellular bacterial metabolism of phagocyte-derived arachidonic acid was sought by exposing human blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes, prelabelled with [3H]arachidonic acid, to opsonized, stationary-phase Pseudomonas aeruginosa (bacteria-to-phagocyte ratio of 50:1) for 90 min at 37 degrees C. Control leukocytes were stimulated with the calcium ionophore A23187 (5 microM) for 5 min. Radiochromatograms of arachidonic acid metabolites, extracted from A23187-stimulated cultures and then separated by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography, revealed leukotriene B4, its omega-oxidation products, and 5-hydroxy-eicosatetraenoic acid. In contrast, two major metabolite peaks, distinct from known polymorphonuclear leukocyte arachidonic acid products by high-performance liquid chromatography or by thin-layer chromatography, were identified in cultures of P. aeruginosa with [3H]arachidonic acid-labelled polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Respective chromatographic characteristics of these novel products were identical to those of two major metabolite peaks produced by incubation of stationary-phase P. aeruginosa with [3H]arachidonic acid. Production of the metabolites was dependent upon pseudomonal viability. UV spectral data were consistent with a conjugated diene structure. Metabolism of arachidonic acid by P. aeruginosa was not influenced by the presence of catalase, superoxide dismutase, nordihydroguaiaretic acid, ethanol, dimethyl sulfoxide, or ferrous ions but was inhibited by carbon monoxide, ketoconazole, and 1,2-epoxy-3,3,3-trichloropropane. Our data suggest that pseudomonal metabolism of polymorphonuclear leukocyte-derived arachidonic acid occurs during phagocytosis, probably by enzymatic epoxidation and hydroxylation via an oxygenase. By this means, potential proinflammatory effects of arachidonic acid or its metabolites may be modulated by P. aeruginosa at sites of infection in vivo
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