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J Exp Med. 2007 Nov 26;204(12):2797-802. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

Mast cell deficiency in Kit(W-sh) mice does not impair antibody-mediated arthritis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


We previously reported that joint swelling, synovial thickening, and cartilage matrix depletion induced by the injection of anti-collagen monoclonal antibodies and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in BALB/c mice are increased in the absence of inhibitory leukocyte immunoglobulin (Ig)-like receptor B4 (LILRB4; formerly gp49B1) in a neutrophil-dependent manner. Because both mast cells and neutrophils express LILRB4, we sought a mast cell requirement with mast cell-deficient mouse strains, but unexpectedly obtained full arthritis in Kit(W-sh) mice and full resistance in Kit(W/KitW-v) mice. Kit(W-sh) mice were indeed mast cell deficient as assessed by histology and the absence of IgE/mast cell-dependent passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in the ear and joint as well as passive systemic anaphylaxis. Deletion of LILRB4 in Kit(W-sh) mice exacerbated anti-collagen/LPS-induced joint swelling that was abolished by neutrophil depletion, establishing a counterregulatory role for LILRB4 in the absence of mast cells. Whereas blood neutrophil levels and LPS-elicited tissue neutrophilia were equal in Kit(W-sh) and Kit+ mice, both were impaired in Kit(W/KitW-v) mice. Although both strains are mast cell deficient and protected from IgE-mediated anaphylactic reactions, their dramatically different responses to autoantibody-mediated, neutrophil-dependent immune complex arthritis suggest that other host differences determine the extent of mast cell involvement. Thus, a conclusion for an absolute mast cell role in a pathobiologic process requires evidence from both strains.

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