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Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol. 1991;94(1-4):310-8.

Neuropeptide-induced secretion from human skin mast cells.

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Immunopharmacology Group, Southampton General Hospital, UK.


Unlike human mast cells associated with mucosal surfaces such as lung, adenoids, tonsils and intestine, skin mast cells may be stimulated to release histamine by the neuropeptides substance P, vaso-active intestinal polypeptide and somatostatin or by other basic secretagogues such as morphine and compound 48/80. Release of histamine by neuropeptides is rapid and accompanied by minimal generation of the eicosanoids prostaglandin D2 and leukotriene C4. Transient elevations of intracellular calcium are associated with mediator secretion induced by both immunological and non-immunological stimulation, that induced by anti-IgE being derived from extracellular sources through channels in the plasma membrane while that stimulated by neuropeptides is mobilized intracellularly. Similarly, elevations of intracellular cyclic AMP induced by anti-IgE occur only in the presence of extracellular calcium, whereas with substance P elevations are apparent even in the absence of extracellular calcium. With the latter stimulus, histamine release is complete before the peak cyclic AMP is achieved. Despite these biochemical and temporal differences, degranulation induced by both secretagogues proceeds by compound exocytosis which is indistinguishable under the electron microscope. From these results we suggest that IgE-dependent and neuropeptide stimulation of human skin mast cells proceed by distinct biochemical pathways which eventually merge to produce exocytosis of their preformed granule-associated mediators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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