Zebrafish mast cells possess an FcɛRI-like receptor and participate in innate and adaptive immune responses

Dev Comp Immunol. 2011 Jan;35(1):125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.dci.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Sep 19.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Ketotifen / pharmacology
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Receptors, IgE / genetics*
  • Receptors, IgE / immunology*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Zebrafish / classification
  • Zebrafish / immunology*
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine / pharmacology


  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Receptors, IgE
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine
  • Ketotifen