Fas mediates apoptosis in human monocytes by a reactive oxygen intermediate dependent pathway. Um HD; Orenstein JM; Wahl SM Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Dental Research, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. J Immunol, 156: 9, 1996 May 1, 3469-77 Abstract Monocyte apoptosis has emerged as a central regulatory event in hemopoiesis and inflammation. Inflammatory cytokines can either promote or prevent monocyte apoptosis. To study the possible role of Fas Ag, a member of the TNF/nerve growth factor receptor family, in monocyte apoptosis, human peripheral blood monocytes activated by IL-1 beta or TNF-alpha were exposed to anti-Fas mAb. Engagement of the Fas Ag resulted in apoptosis of monocytes, as monitored by propidium iodide uptake, decrease in cell size, DNA fragmentation, and characteristic ultrastructural changes. The apoptotic action of Fas was abolished completely by antioxidants such as N-acetylcysteine and glutathione, suggesting a role for reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) in the death process. Consistent with this observation, Fas stimulation enhanced the fluorescence associated with oxidation of 2',7'- dichlorofluorescein, indicating increased levels of intracellular ROI. Moreover, the exogenous addition of hydrogen peroxide or menadione, an intracellular generator of superoxide anion, was sufficient for the induction of monocyte apoptosis. These data indicate that ROI are key mediators of Fas-induced apoptosis. In contrast to IL-1 beta and TNF-alpha, LPS-treated monocytes were resistant to the apoptotic action of Fas. Under these conditions, LPS did not down-regulate Fas, but inhibited the Fas-dependent elevation of ROI. Therefore, monocytes appear to have a protective mechanism that can interfere directly with the Fas-induced pathway of cell suicide, thereby controlling their destiny.