Objective: The Asp816Val c-kit activating mutation is detectable in the peripheral blood cells of some patients with mastocytosis and in lesional skin biopsies obtained from adult patients with urticaria pigmentosa. These observations led to the conclusion that this mutation is present in mast cells and mast cell precursors that express c-kit. However, the distribution of the Asp816Val mutation among hematopoietic lineages is unknown. To determine the distribution of the Asp816Val mutation among hematopoietic lineages and to explore its relationship to clinical disease, we examined cells bearing differentiation markers for myelomonocytic cells as well as T and B lymphocytes, in both peripheral blood and bone marrow obtained from patients with mastocytosis.
Materials and methods: The presence of Asp816Val c-kit mutation in cells magnetically sorted from peripheral blood or bone marrow according to surface differentiation markers was studied by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. The surface expression of c-kit was determined by flow cytometry.
Results: The mutation was detectable by RT-PCR in at least one cell lineage in the bone marrow in 7 of 7 patients examined and in the peripheral blood of 11 of 11 adult patients with urticaria pigmentosa and indolent disease. The mutation was identified most frequently in B cells and myeloid cells. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that the differentiated cells expressing mutated c-kit were negative for surface KIT.
Conclusion: These results are consistent with the conclusion that the c-kit Asp816Val mutation occurs in an early progenitor cell and is carried by myelomonocytic cells, T cells, and B cells in addition to mast cells. However, unlike mast cells, these myelomonocytic cells, T cells, and B cells do not concomitantly express surface c-kit and thus may be less susceptible to the effects of this mutation.