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Mast cell heterogeneity in man: unique functional properties of skin mast cells in response to a range of polycationic stimuli


Mast cell heterogeneity in man: unique functional properties of skin mast cells in response to a range of polycationic stimuli



Immunopharmacology 24(3): 171-180



ISSN/ISBN: 0162-3109

PMID: 1282507

DOI: 10.1016/0162-3109(92)90073-l

Human mast cell heterogeneity was assessed by histochemical and detailed functional criteria using mast cells isolated from foreskin, uterine myometrium and lung parenchyma. The skin mast cells were histochemically distinct from their counterparts in the other two tissues by being predominantly insensitive to blockage of dye-binding following formalin fixation (ca. 80%). Functionally, a wide range of structurally diverse polycationic compounds induced selective histamine release from the skin mast cells (ca. 10% at top concentrations) although these cells were less responsive to immunological ligands and calcium ionophores when compared with the uterine and lung cells. The basic compounds, polyarginine and histone, proved to be more generalised histamine liberators as compared with their structural analogues, polylysine and protamine sulphate, probably by virtue of their high content of arginine residues and hydrophobic nature (histone). Studies with the anaphylatoxin, C3a, and its analogues 21R and C3ades Arg on skin mast cells emphasized the importance of basic amino acids for histamine-liberating peptides. Skin mast cells also proved more susceptible than their uterine counterparts to lysis by the detergents, Triton X-100 and Tween 20, suggesting that fundamental differences in membrane structure and/or fluidity might account for functional heterogeneity within the human mast cell population.

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