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Am J Pathol. 2002 Sep;161(3):771-9.

Enteric expression of the integrin alpha(v)beta(6) is essential for nematode-induced mucosal mast cell hyperplasia and expression of the granule chymase, mouse mast cell protease-1.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland.


The immunoregulatory cytokine transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta(1) is secreted as a biologically inactive complex with latency-associated peptide, which must be modified by local factors to expose the functionally active cytokine. The epithelial integrin alpha(v)beta(6) mediates local activation of TGF-beta(1) in the lung and beta(6)(-/-) mice exhibit exaggerated pulmonary inflammation, but their response to inflammatory stimuli in the gut has not been investigated. We found that both beta(6) and TGF-beta(1) are constitutively expressed in the jejunal epithelial compartment in uninfected mice and during infection with the intestinal nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis. We also present data showing that beta(6)(-/-) mice are seriously compromised in their ability to mount a mucosal mast cell response after infection, and there is a significant reduction in the expression and systemic release of the granule chymase, mouse mast cell protease-1. Because in vitro expression of this chymase is regulated by TGF-beta(1), these data indicate that in the absence of alpha(v)beta(6) epithelially expressed TGF-beta(1) may not be activated, with a consequent absence of expression of mouse mast cell protease-1 and down-regulation of the mucosal mast cell response.

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