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J Immunol. 1987 Apr 15;138(8):2616-25.

Biochemical and morphological characterization of basophilic leukocytes from two patients with myelogenous leukemia.


Basophilic leukocytes from two patients with myelogenous leukemia were enriched to a purity of 10 to 45% by density gradient centrifugation. Ultrastructurally, these basophilic leukocytes contained segmented nuclei and granules with reticular patterns resembling those of normal basophils, and other granules with scroll and grating patterns resembling those of normal connective tissue mast cells. The 35S-labeled macromolecules isolated from these cells were approximately 140,000 m.w. Pronase-resistant proteoglycans bearing approximately 15,000 m.w. glycosaminoglycans. On incubation with chondroitinase ABC, nitrous acid, and heparinase, the 35S-labeled proteoglycans were degraded 50 to 84%, 16 to 43%, and 8 to 37%, respectively, indicating the presence of both chondroitin sulfate and heparin. As assessed by high performance liquid chromatography, the 35S-labeled chondroitin sulfate disaccharides liberated by chondroitinase ABC treatment were approximately 95% monosulfated chondroitin sulfate A and approximately 5% disulfated chondroitin sulfate E. The presence of heparin was confirmed by two-dimensional cellulose acetate electrophoresis of the 35S-labeled glycosaminoglycans. Cell preparations, enriched to 75% basophilic leukocytes by sorting for IgE+ cells, also synthesized 35S-labeled proteoglycans containing chondroitin sulfate and heparin. In one experiment, treatment of the cells with 1 microM calcium ionophore A23187 resulted in a 12% net release of both chondroitin sulfate and heparin containing 35S-labeled proteoglycans, a 57% net release of histamine, and the de novo generation of 8, 8, and 0.16 ng of immunoreactive equivalents of prostaglandin D2, leukotriene C4, and leukotriene B4, respectively, per 10(6) cells. Because only mast cells have been found to contain Pronase-resistant heparin proteoglycans, to generate PGD2 on cell activation, and to contain granules with scroll and grating patterns, these findings indicate that in some patients with myelogenous leukemia there are basophilic cells that possess properties of tissue mast cells.

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