A long-term co-culture of mononuclear cells of human umbilical cord blood with mouse embryo- derived 3T3 fibroblasts resulted in the development of human mast cells. These mast cells are morphologically and functionally mature cells, containing 1.4-2.8 µg histamine per 106 cells and bear approximately 105 FcεRI per cell. The mast cells sensitized with human IgE released histamine upon challenge with anti-IgE. Electron- microscopic analysis of the cells showed that these cells were mature human mast cells, and clearly different from basophilic granulocytes. Most of the mast cells contained some granules with regular crystalline arrays and both tryptase andchymase, resembling human skin mast cells. When mononuclear cells of cord blood were seeded in a millicell insert which was placed on 3T3 fibroblasts monolayer, the number of mast cells developed in the millicell inserts was comparable to those developed in the co-culture of the same cord blood cells with 3T3 fibroblasts. Recent observations that mast cells developed in the presence of concentrated culture su- pernatants of 3T3 fibroblasts without fibroblasts feeder layers, confirmed that soluble factors released from 3T3 fibroblasts are essential and sufficient for the differentiation of human mast cell progenitors in vitro. Analysis of functional characteristics of cultured mast cells revealed that they respond to anti-IgE, Ca2+ ionophore A23187 and substance P for histamine release, but failed to respond to compound 48/80 and FMLP. Upon anti-IgE challenge, sensitized mast cells generated approximately 80 ng PGD2 per 106 cells, and approximately 50 ng of LTC4 per 106 cells but no detectable generation of LTB4. Characterization of growth factors for human mast cells, followed by gene cloning of the growth factor(s) will provide us with a powerful tool for in vitro development of mature human mast cells, which will pave the way to further detailed studies on human mast cells in many aspects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy