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Am J Pathol. 2007 Jun;170(6):1910-6.

Control of Pseudomonas aeruginosa skin infections in mice is mast cell-dependent.

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Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Allergie-Centrum-Charité, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


Mast cells (MCs) have recently been shown to be essential for the elicitation of efficient immune responses in murine sepsis. To explore whether MCs also contribute to the control of bacterial skin infections, we studied skin lesions induced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) in genetically MC-deficient Kit(W)/Kit(W-v) mice, normal Kit(+/+) mice, and MC-reconstituted Kit(W)/Kit(W-v) mice. PA injections resulted in strikingly (>2-fold) larger skin lesions in Kit(W)/Kit(W-v) mice than in Kit(+/+) mice, which exhibited pronounced MC degranulation at infection sites. In addition, neutrophil recruitment following PA injections and bacterial clearance from sites of infection was significantly impaired in Kit(W)/Kit(W-v) mice compared with Kit(+/+) mice. Notably, the adoptive transfer of MCs to the skin of Kit(W)/Kit(W-v) mice before PA infection resulted in normal neutrophil accumulation as well as skin lesions comparable with those in Kit(+/+) mice in both bacterial burden and size. These findings demonstrate for the first time that activated MCs are crucial for the induction of protective innate immune responses to bacterial skin infections.

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