Mast cells recruited to mesenteric lymph nodes during helminth infection remain hypogranular and produce IL-4 and IL-6

Contributing Author:

J Immunol. 2013 Feb 15;190(4):1758-66. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1202567. Epub 2013 Jan 14.


Mast cells (MC) and basophils share expression of the high-affinity receptor for IgE (FcεRI) but can be distinguished by their divergent expression of KIT and CD49b. In BALB/c mice, MC lineage cells expressing high levels of FcεRI by flow cytometry were seen only in bone marrow whereas those expressing intermediate levels of FcεRI were present in bone marrow and spleen of naive mice and in mesenteric lymph nodes (mLN) of Trichinella spiralis-infected mice. These FcεRI(+)KIT(+)CD49b(-) cells had a membrane phenotype similar to i.p. connective tissue-type MC, but were smaller and hypogranular by flow cytometry forward and side scatter profiles, respectively. Consistent with this, they lacked the prominent secretory granules identified by histochemistry and immunodetection for the MC-specific granule proteases that are readily seen in mature jejunal mucosal MC that also are induced by the infection and present at the same time. The concentration of these MC lineage cells in mLN determined by flow cytometry was comparable to that of MC progenitors (MCp) measured by limiting dilution and clonal expansion with maturation. We observed upregulation of IL-4 transcription by MCp in mLN and spleens of helminth-infected 4get mice, and we demonstrated by intracellular cytokine staining production of IL-4 and IL-6 by the mLN MCp in helminth-infected mice. Furthermore, treatment of helminth-infected mice with anti-FcεRI mAb, a protocol known to deplete basophils, also depleted mLN MCp. Thus, this study identifies a hypogranular subset of MCp recruited to mLN by helminth infection that may be an important unrecognized source of cytokines.

PMID:23319739 | PMC:PMC3563837 | DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1202567