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Lab Invest. 1988 Jun;58(6):682-91.

Ultrastructural analysis of human T and TC mast cells identified by immunoelectron microscopy.

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1
Department of Anatomy, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Abstract

Tryptase and chymase were localized in human mast cells by immunoelectron microscopy, enabling the T (tryptase positive, chymase negative) and TC (tryptase positive, chymase positive) types of mast cells to be identified and ultrastructurally characterized. A double immunogold staining procedure was performed on samples of human skin, small intestine, and lung with rabbit polyclonal IgG anti-chymase and mouse monoclonal IgG anti-tryptase primary antibodies and gold-conjugated secondary antibodies. Approximately 225 mast cells were examined in this fashion; comparable sections from 170 of these mast cells along with approximately 200 additional mast cells also were examined using techniques optimized for ultrastructural detail. Each secretory granule of TC mast cells contained both tryptase and chymase; secretory granules of T mast cells stained strongly positive for tryptase alone. Extremely small amounts of chymase appeared to be present in an occasional T mast cell granule. Staining for the neutral proteases was more intense over electron-dense regions of the granules, particularly noticeable over the characteristic discrete scrolls of T mast cells. T and TC mast cells each had large numbers of cytoplasmic granules, nuclei with peripherally condensed chromatin and low nuclear/cytoplasmic ratios, indicating maturity of both cell types. TC mast cell granules generally were more uniformly electron dense, larger and more numerous than T mast cell granules, which were more variable in shape. Compact solid-core scrolls, peripheral parallel lamellae and amorphous electron-dense material were found in granules of both cell types. Only TC mast cells had granules with grating and lattice substructures; only T mast cells had granules containing discrete scrolls. Less commonly, T mast cells were detected containing granules with a characteristic beaded or particulate ultrastructure. The ultrastructural features noted above were observed in T and TC mast cells regardless of the tissue in which they were examined and thereby permit T and TC mast cells to be distinguished by ultrastructure alone.

PMID:
2454349
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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