To determine identities of mediators and mechanisms for their release from pulmonary airway epithelial cells, we examined the capacities of epithelial cells from human, dog and sheep airways to incorporate, release and oxygenate arachidonic acid. Purified cell suspensions were incubated with radiolabeled arachidonic acid and/or ionophore A23187; fatty acid esterification and hydrolysis were traced chromato-graphically, and oxygenated metabolites were identified using high-pressure liquid chromatography and mass-spectrometry. In each species, cellular uptake of 10 nM arachidonic acid was concentrated in the phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylethanolamine fractions, and subsequent incubation with 5 μM A23187 caused release of 10-12% of the radiolabeled pool selectively from phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylinositol. By contrast, the products of arachidonic acid oxygenation were species-dependent and in the case of human cells were also novel: A23187-stimulated human epithelial cells converted arachidonic acid predominantly to 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE) and two distinct 8,15-diols in addition to prostaglandin (PG) E2 and PGF. Cell incubation with exogenous arachidonic acid (2.0-300 μM) led to progressively larger amounts of 15-HETE and the dihydroxy, epoxyhydroxy and keto acids characteristic of arachidonate 15-lipoxygenase. Both dog and sheep cells converted exogenous or endogenous arachidonic acid to low levels of 5-lipoxygenase products, including leukotriene B4 without significant 15-lipoxygenase activity. In the cyclooxygenase series, sheep cells selectively released PGE2, while dog cells generated predominantly PGD2. The findings demonstrate that stereotyped esterification and phospholipase activities are expressed at uniform levels among airway epithelial cells from these species, but pathways for oxygenating arachidonic acid allow mediator diversity depending greatly on species and little on arachidonic acid presentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-413
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)/Lipids and Lipid Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 16 1988


  • Cyclooxygenase
  • Leukotriene
  • Lipoxygenase
  • Phospholipase
  • Prostaglandin


Dive into the research topics of 'Uptake, release and novel species-dependent oxygenation of arachidonic acid in human and animal airway epithelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this