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Summary.

The effect of propylthiouracil on glucose metabolism in human polymorphonuclear leucocytes was studied. At a therapeutically achievable concentration (0.1 mm), propylthiouracil stimulated hexose monophosphate shunt activity in normal leucocytes during phagocytosis but not in resting cells. However, in the presence of hydrogen peroxide it stimulated hexose monophosphate shunt activity in resting cells, and in the soluble fraction when reduced glutathione and reduced nictotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) were also present. Propylthiouracil had no effect on glucose-1-C oxidation in either phagocytosing or resting leucocytes obtained from two male patients with chronic granulomatous disease. Stimulation of the hexose monophosphate shunt activity in normal leucocytes during phagocytosis also was demonstrated with methimazole, thiouracil and thiourea, but not with adenine, uracil or urea. There was an apparent minimal common structure requirement in thiourea. Propylthiouracil had no effect on phagocytosis, formate oxidation, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase or catalase activities. Thus, the stimulation of the hexose monophosphate shunt activity by propylthiouracil is dependent on hydrogen peroxide and is best explained by its stimulation or participation in the glutathione cycle.