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Am J Pathol. 1997 May;150(5):1661-72.

Mast cell heterogeneity in the gastrointestinal tract: variable expression of mouse mast cell protease-1 (mMCP-1) in intraepithelial mucosal mast cells in nematode-infected and normal BALB/c mice.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, United Kingdom.


Soluble granule chymases in rodent intestinal mucosal mast cells (IMMCs) may play an important role in altering epithelial permeability during immediate hypersensitivity reactions. Using a monoclonal antibody against the chymase mouse mast cell protease-1 (mMCP-1), we have shown that it is constitutively expressed in < or = 20% of esterase-positive (esterase+) IMMCs but not in esterase+ gastric mucosal mast cells (GMMCs) in normal BALB/c mice. Intestinal infection with mouse- or rat-adapted strains of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis resulted in IMMC hyperplasia with 100% of esterase+ IMMCs expressing mMCP-1. In contrast, there was a variable response in terms of numbers of GMMCs and of the proportion expressing mMCP-1. Esterase+ mast cells in the gastric submucosa, muscularis, ear pinna, lung parenchyma, major airway submucosa, and peritoneal cavity did not express mMCP-1. The few airway esterase+ mast cells expressing mMCP-1 were, like the great majority of IMMCs and GMMCs, located intraepithelially. In conclusion, mMCP-1 is predominantly expressed by intraepithelial mucosal mast cells but not in all sites; the immunological stimulus associated with intestinal nematodiasis substantially up-regulates mMCP-1 expression by mast cells in the jejunum but not in the stomach; IMMCs and GMMCs in BALB/c mice are phenotypically and possibly functionally distinct.

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