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J Immunol. 1998 Aug 15;161(4):1939-46.

The role of mast cell tryptase in regulating endothelial cell proliferation, cytokine release, and adhesion molecule expression: tryptase induces expression of mRNA for IL-1 beta and IL-8 and stimulates the selective release of IL-8 from human umbilical vein endothelial cells.

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  • 1Immunopharmacology Group, Southampton General Hospital, United Kingdom.


Mast cells are found frequently in close proximity to blood vessels, and endothelial cells are likely to be exposed to high concentrations of their granule mediators. We have investigated the proinflammatory actions of the major mast cell product tryptase on HUVEC. Addition of purified tryptase was found to stimulate thymidine incorporation, but induced little alteration in cell numbers, suggesting it is not a growth factor for HUVEC. Expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin was not altered following incubation with tryptase, but the potent granulocyte chemoattractant IL-8 was released in a dose-dependent fashion in response to physiologically relevant concentrations, with maximal levels in supernatants after 24 h. The actions of tryptase on HUVEC were inhibited by heat inactivation of the enzyme, or by preincubating with the protease inhibitors leupeptin or benzamidine, suggesting a requirement for an intact catalytic site. Reverse-transcription PCR analysis indicated up-regulation of mRNA for IL-8 as well as for IL-1 beta in response to tryptase or TNF-alpha. However, tryptase was a more selective stimulus than TNF-alpha and did not induce increased expression of mRNA for granulocyte-macrophage CSF or stimulate the release of this cytokine. Leukocyte accumulation in response to tryptase may be mediated in part through the selective secretion of IL-8 from endothelial cells.

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