Background: Cross-linkage of the high affinity Fcepsilon receptors (FcepsilonRI) on the surface of the mast cell by the allergen-IgE complex is a central event in the induction of allergic inflammatory reactions. However, the precise roles of human mast cells in the perpetuation of allergic inflammation is not well known. IL-13 plays an important role in the regulation of allergic inflammation, especially being involved in the induction of IgE synthesis.
Objective: We investigated whether human lung mast cells have the capacity to produce IL-13 by cross-linking of the FcepsilonRI.
Methods: Lung mast cells were purified by affinity magnetic selection with monoclonal antibody YB5.B8 against c-kit to achieve a final mast cell purity of more than 93%. Purified mast cells were precultured with human myeloma IgE (3 microg/mL) for 16 h before challenge with stem cell factor (SCF) (50 ng/mL) and anti-IgE (1 microg/mL). By RT-PCR, ELISA and immunocytochemistry, we evaluated the capacity of human lung mast cells to express and produce IL-13.
Results: IgE-dependent activation of human lung mast cells caused an increase in IL-13 mRNA expression which persisted for up to 12 h. Immunoreactive IL-13 was detectable 24 h after activation of sensitized lung mast cells with SCF and anti-IgE in 6 of 13 non-asthmatic donors and a million of mast cells secreted 106.7 +/- 42.65 (mean +/- SE) pg of IL-13 into the culture supernatants. SCF alone induced 61.63 +/- 31.12 pg of IL-13 from 106 mast cells. This difference was statistically significant (P = 0.028, n = 13). Furthermore, we confirmed by immunocytochemistry that immunological activation induced an increase of intracellular IL-13.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the capacity of human lung mast cells to transcribe IL-13 after IgE-dependent activation and to synthesize and release IL-13.