Glucose metabolism and respiratory burst were studied in vitro in resident peritoneal macrophages from non-diabetes-prone BB, spontaneously diabetic BB, diabetes-prone BB, and STZ-induced diabetic BBn rats, in the presence or absence of phorbol myristate acetate plus ionomycin. Glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway activity were increased in BBd compared with BBn cells. PMA plus IONO did not influence glycolysis in BBn macrophages and slightly decreased it in BBd macrophages. In contrast, PMA plus IONO increased the pentose phosphate pathway activity in BBn and BBd macrophages with a much greater increase in BBd cells. The release of O2 was greater in BBd than BBn cells; PMA plus IONO also induced a much greater release of O2 in BBd cells. H2O2 release was undetectable in unstimulated BBn cells, and stimulation by PMA plus IONO caused a small incremental release. In contrast, the release of H2O2 was measurable in unstimulated cells and further increased by 50% in BBd cells with PMA-plus-IONO stimulation. The release of O2 and H2O2 was increased in macrophages from 75-day-old BBdp rats but not in 50-day-old BBdp rats, compared with age-matched BBn rats. No differences were observed in either glucose metabolism or release of O2 and H2O2 between BBn and STZ-BBn cells in the absence or presence of PMA plus IONO. These data suggest that enhanced oxidative metabolism in BBd macrophages is unlikely to be attributable to diabetes per se. Furthermore, the results are consistent with prior in vivo immunological activation of BBd macrophages. Increased production of 02 and H2O2 from activated macrophages may be involved in the autoimmune destruction of β-cells that causes the diabetic syndrome.

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