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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 2;107(9):4448-53. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1000803107. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

IL-33 augments substance P-induced VEGF secretion from human mast cells and is increased in psoriatic skin.

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Molecular Immunopharmacology and Drug Discovery Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Tufts University School of Medicine, and Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


The peptide substance P (SP) has been implicated in inflammatory conditions, such as psoriasis, where mast cells and VEGF are increased. A relationship between SP and VEGF has not been well studied, nor has any interaction with the proinflammatory cytokines, especially IL-33. Here we report that SP (0.1-10 microM) induces gene expression and secretion of VEGF from human LAD2 mast cells and human umbilical core blood-derived cultured mast cells (hCBMCs). This effect is significantly increased by coadministration of IL-33 (5-100 ng/mL) in both cell types. The effect of SP on VEGF release is inhibited by treatment with the NK-1 receptor antagonist 733,060. SP rapidly increases cytosolic calcium, and so does IL-33 to a smaller extent; the addition of IL-33 augments the calcium increase. SP-induced VEGF production involves calcium-dependent PKC isoforms, as well as the ERK and JNK MAPKs. Gene expression of IL-33 and histidine decarboxylase (HDC), an indicator of mast cell presence/activation, is significantly increased in affected and unaffected (at least 15 cm away from the lesion) psoriatic skin, as compared with normal control skin. Immunohistochemistry indicates that IL-33 is associated with endothelial cells in both the unaffected and affected sites, but is stronger and also associated with immune cells in the affected site. These results imply that functional interactions among SP, IL-33, and mast cells leading to VEGF release contribute to inflammatory conditions, such as the psoriasis, a nonallergic hyperproliferative skin inflammatory disorder with a neurogenic component.

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