IgE-mediated mast cell activation promotes inflammation and cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis

Elife. 2019 May 14;8:e39905. doi: 10.7554/eLife.39905.


Osteoarthritis is characterized by articular cartilage breakdown, and emerging evidence suggests that dysregulated innate immunity is likely involved. Here, we performed proteomic, transcriptomic, and electron microscopic analyses to demonstrate that mast cells are aberrantly activated in human and murine osteoarthritic joint tissues. Using genetic models of mast cell deficiency, we demonstrate that lack of mast cells attenuates osteoarthritis in mice. Using genetic and pharmacologic approaches, we show that the IgE/FcεRI/Syk signaling axis is critical for the development of osteoarthritis. We find that mast cell-derived tryptase induces inflammation, chondrocyte apoptosis, and cartilage breakdown. Our findings demonstrate a central role for IgE-dependent mast cell activation in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, suggesting that targeting mast cells could provide therapeutic benefit in human osteoarthritis.

Editorial note: This article has been through an editorial process in which the authors decide how to respond to the issues raised during peer review. The Reviewing Editor's assessment is that all the issues have been addressed (see decision letter).

Keywords: human; immunology; inflammation; innate immunity; mast cell; mouse; osteoarthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cartilage / pathology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / metabolism*
  • Immunologic Factors / metabolism*
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Osteoarthritis / pathology*
  • Proteomics
  • Signal Transduction


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Immunoglobulin E

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE32317