OBJECTIVES--Synovial fluid from patients with rheumatoid arthritis contains both soluble and insoluble immunoglobulin aggregates which activate reactive oxidant production in human neutrophils. The objectives were to determine the roles played by Fc gamma receptors in activation of neutrophils by these complexes. METHODS--Pronase treatment was used to remove Fc gamma RIII from the neutrophil surface and blocking monoclonal antibodies were used to prevent the binding of complexes to Fc gamma RII and Fc gamma RIII. RESULTS--When Fc gamma RIII was removed from the cell surface by pronase treatment, activation by the soluble aggregates did not occur [mean (SD) inhibition 89 (16)%, n = 6] whereas activation via the insoluble aggregates was less affected [34 (16)%, n = 6]. Blocking the binding to Fc gamma RIII with antibodies decreased activation in response to the soluble aggregates [mean (SD) inhibition 71 (22)%, n = 8] but again had a lower effect on activation by the insoluble aggregates [40 (17)%, n = 9]. When binding to Fc gamma RII was blocked, activation via the soluble aggregates was substantially inhibited [mean (SD) 93 (13)%, n = 8] whereas that via the insoluble aggregates was inhibited to a much lesser extent [28 (38)%, n = 9]. When Fc gamma RII and III were simultaneously blocked, activation by the insoluble aggregates was only inhibited by 45% [(19), n = 5]. CONCLUSION--These data thus indicate that activation of human neutrophils by soluble immunoglobulin aggregates from rheumatoid synovial fluid occurs via cooperative occupancy of both Fc gamma RII and III: perturbation of binding to either of these receptor classes will abrogate activation.
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