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Immunology. 1991 Feb;72(2):174-80.

Effects of interleukins on connective tissue type mast cells co-cultured with fibroblasts.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Hadassah Medical School, Hadassah University Hospital, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


We investigated the effects of interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-3 (IL-3) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) on mouse and rat peritoneal mast cells (MC) co-cultured with 3T3 fibroblasts (MC/3T3). The continuous presence of these cytokines for 7-9 days in the culture media was neither toxic nor caused proliferation of MC, as determined by the stability of MC numbers in culture. Long-term incubation of mouse MC/3T3 with IL-2 (100 U/ml), IL-3 (50 U/ml), IL-4 (50 U/ml) or a mixture of IL-3 and IL-4 (25 U/ml) induced an increase in basal histamine release of 79.3 +/- 19.0%, 41.0 +/- 17.3%, 25.2 +/- 10.4% and 30.2 +/- 3.2%, respectively, over control cells incubated with medium alone. When rat MC/3T3 were incubated for 7 days with the various interleukins an enhancement in histamine release similar to that observed with mouse MC/3T3 was found. Preincubation (1 hr) of rat MC/3T3 with interleukins prior to immunological activation with anti-IgE antibodies enhanced histamine release. The highest effect was observed with IL-3 + IL-4 (60.4 +/- 10.8% increase) followed by IL-2 (51.5 +/- 4.5%), IL-4 (28.6 +/- 10.3%) and IL-3 (13.2 +/- 4.2%). This study demonstrates that when mouse and rat peritoneal MC are cultured with fibroblasts in the presence of interleukins they do not proliferate, suggesting that they preserve their connective tissue type MC phenotype. Moreover, interleukins display a pro-inflammatory effect on these cells by enhancing both basal and anti-IgE-mediated histamine release.

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