Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Summary: Mature human mast cells are tissue-residing, key effector cells of immediate allergic reactions. Moreover, mast cells have been recognized as a potent cellular source of multiple cytokines, suggesting an important role in immunoregulation and host defense. Here, we report on the regulation of mature human mast cells isolated from intestinal tissues by stem cell factor (SCF) and interleukin (IL)-4. SCF is substantially necessary for mast cell survival and induces marginal mast cell proliferation in vitro, whereas IL-4 by itself has no effects on mast cell survival or proliferation. Most interestingly, in synergy with SCF, IL-4 strongly enhances mast cell proliferation. In the presence of SCF, mast cells predominantly produce pro-inflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-16, and IL-18. Addition of IL-4 to the culture medium induces the expression of Th2-type cytokines (IL-3, IL-5 and IL-13), and a downregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, namely IL-6. Furthermore, SCF by itself supports the predominance of the tryptase/chymase double-positive mast cell subtype MCTC, whereas the addition of IL-4 supports the chymase negative MCT subtype. In conclusion, SCF may primarily regulate resident mast cell survival, whereas IL-4 may promote local proliferation of mast cells and their expression of Th2-type cytokines.This research was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (SFB280-C8).
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