We previously identified a zebrafish mast cell (MC) lineage and now aim to determine if these cells function analogously in innate and adaptive immunity like their mammalian counterparts. Intraperitoneal (IP) injection of compound 48/80 or live Aeromonas salmonicida resulted in significant MC degranulation evident histologically and by increased plasma tryptase compared with saline-injected controls (p=0.0006, 0.005, respectively). Pre-treatment with ketotifen abrogated these responses (p=0.0004, 0.005, respectively). Cross-reactivity was observed in zebrafish to anti-human high-affinity IgE receptor gamma (FcɛRIγ) and IgE heavy chain-directed antibodies. Whole mount in situ hybridization on 7-day embryos demonstrated co-localization of cpa5, a MC-specific marker, with myd88, a toll-like receptor adaptor, and zebrafish FcɛRI subunit homologs. Zebrafish injected IP with matched dinitrophenyl-sensitized mouse (anti-DNP) IgE and DNP-BSA or trinitrophenyl-sensitized mouse (anti-TNP) IgE and TNP-BSA demonstrated increased plasma tryptase compared with mismatched controls (p=0.03, 0.010, respectively). These results confirm functional conservation and validate the zebrafish model as an in vivo screening tool for novel MC modulating agents.
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