Background: FcepsilonRI on the surface of mast cells (MCs) plays a central role in allergic responses. Recent evidence shows that exposure to microbial components corresponds with a significant reduction in the risk for allergic diseases. Although many reports suggest that this is due to changes in T-cell functions, how MC functions are altered by bacterial infection remains unknown.
Objective: We sought to elucidate the effect of bacterial infection on MC function and expression of Fc receptors, such as FcepsilonRI.
Methods: Isolated human pulmonary MCs and a human MC line (LAD2) were stimulated with bacterial components, and the function and surface expression of Fc receptors were measured.
Results: Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) and peptidoglycan, but not LPS, flagellin, or 3CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide, reduced the expression of FcepsilonRI on LAD2 cells. An antibody to Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 partially blocked the effect of LTA but not peptidoglycan. Both LTA and peptidoglycan reduced MC degranulation caused by an antigen-specific IgE. Furthermore, exposure of pulmonary MCs to LTA reduced both FcepsilonRI expression and IgE-induced degranulation. None of the bacterial components affected the expression of other Fc receptors, such as Fcgamma receptors or Fcalpha receptor I.
Conclusions: Our results indicate that LTA reduces the surface expression of FcepsilonRI through TLR2 and suggests that TLR2 ligands could be used as a novel therapy for controlling allergic disorders.
Clinical implications: By knowing how bacterial components modulate MC function, we can expand our possibilities for therapeutic interventions of allergic diseases.