Mast cells are resident tissue cells that induce anaphylactic reactions by rapidly releasing mediators after antigen-mediated cross-linking of immunoglobulin E receptors. In the similarly active peripheral blood basophilic leukocyte, lysosome-associated membrane protein 3 (LAMP-3; CD63) has been described as an activation marker, but LAMPs have not been investigated in normal tissue mast cells.
Intra- and extracellular expressions of LAMP-1 (CD107a), LAMP-2 (CD107b), and LAMP-3 (CD63) were analysed by flow cytometry, immunocytochemistry, and functional assays in unstimulated and stimulated leukemic human mast cell line 1 (HMC-1) and skin mast cells.
On flow cytometry, all mast cells expressed LAMP-3 at their cell membranes, whereas LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 were barely detectable (HMC-1 cells) or expressed at low levels (<10% of skin mast cells). After fixation and permeabilisation, high intracellular levels of all three LAMPs were noted in both cell types. After stimulation, a rapid translocation of intracellular LAMPs to the cell membrane, with an associated release of histamine, leukotriene C4 and prostaglandin D2, was ascertained in skin mast cells only.
These results show that LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 are activation markers for normal mast cells. The lack of LAMP translocation after activation of leukemic mast cells may be related to maturation or malignancy-associated defects of these cells. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.