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J Immunol. 1989 Apr 1;142(7):2450-6.

Mast cell chymase. A potent secretagogue for airway gland serous cells.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Research Institute, Department of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94143.


Submucosal glands are the major sources of airway secretions in most mammals. Mast cells are abundant in the environment of airway submucosal glands and are rich sources of secreted proteases. To investigate the hypothesis that mast cell proteases stimulate airway gland secretion, we studied the ability of the two major mast cell granule proteases, chymase and tryptase, to cause secretion of 35S-labeled macromolecules from a line of cultured bovine airway gland serous cells. Mast cell chymase and tryptase were purified from dog mastocytoma cells. Chymase markedly stimulated serous cell secretion in a concentration-dependent fashion with a threshold of 10(-10) M, whereas tryptase had no effect. The response to 10(-8) M chymase (1530 +/- 80% over base line) was approximately 10-fold higher than that evoked by other agonists such as histamine and isoproterenol. The predominant 35S-labeled macromolecule released by chymase was chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, the glycoconjugate present in serous cell secretory granules. The response to chymase was non-cytotoxic and was blocked by active site inhibitors of chymase (soybean trypsin inhibitor and chymostatin) and by inhibitors of cellular energy metabolism (azide,2,4-dinitrophenol, dicumarol). Supernatant obtained by degranulation of mastocytoma cells caused a secretory response of comparable magnitude to that caused by chymase. These findings demonstrate that chymase, but not tryptase, is a potent secretagogue for airway gland serous cells, and they suggest a possible role for chymase-containing mast cells in the pathogenesis of airway hypersecretion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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