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Immunology. 1988 Dec;65(4):559-66.

Granule proteinases define mast cell heterogeneity in the serosa and the gastrointestinal mucosa of the mouse.

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Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, U.K.


In order to define further mast cell heterogeneity in the mouse, affinity-purified antibodies against a 28,000 MW serine proteinase from mouse intestinal mast cells (IMCP) and against rat mast cell proteinase I (RMCPI) were used to characterize mast cell cytoplasmic granules immunohistochemically. On Western blot, anti-IMCP cross-reacted with RMCPI and with a 25,000 MW antigen from isolated mouse serosal mast cells (SMC). Anti-RMCPI did not react with IMCP, although it identified the same 25,000 MW antigen from SMC. Isolated SMC (85-90% pure) lacked the 28,000 MW IMCP on Western blot, even though, immunohistochemically, the cells were stained with both anti-RMCPI and anti-IMCP. Anti-IMCP stained the granules of more than 85% of all mast cells detected with toluidine blue in the tongue or gastrointestinal mucosa. The specificity of anti-RMCPI which, in the rat, detects very few mucosal mast cells was almost identical to that of anti-IMCP for murine tongue and gastric and large intestinal mucosae, but a significant proportion of cells in distal jejunal, ileal and caecal mucosae were not stained with this antibody. The immunohistochemistry of the large numbers of mast cells recruited to jejunum following infection 10 days previously with 300 Trichinella spiralis muscle larvae was similar to that of uninfected control mice. The results show that considerable mast cell heterogeneity exists within the gastrointestinal mucosa of the mouse and indicate that there are both similarities and differences between mouse and rat in the distribution of mast cells and of their granule proteinases.

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