Background Kimura's disease (KD) is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by tumours in the head and neck region, enlarged lymph nodes, increased eosinophil counts and high serum IgE. Mast cells are known to play a central role in IgE-mediated allergic diseases through the release of inflammatory mediators like IL-4, IL-5 and chemokines. We hypothesized that mast cells may play a role in the pathogenesis of KD by regulating eosinophilic infiltration and IgE synthesis.
Objective In order to investigate the role of mast cells in the pathogenesis of KD, we examined the expression of cytokines/chemokines in the lesions of KD.
Methods We examined the number of tryptase+ cells, EG2+ cells, CD3+ cells, IL-4+ cells, IL-5+ cells, eotaxin+ cells, RANTES+ cells and CCR3+ cells in five specimens of KD versus normal tissues by immunohistochemistry. The sources of IL-4, IL-5, eotaxin and RANTES and the expression of CCR3 were examined by immunostaining of serial sections with antibodies to IL-4, IL-5, eotaxin, RANTES and CCR3, and antibodies to tryptase, ECP (EG2) and CD3.
Results Mast cells, activated eosinophils, T cells, IL-4+ cells, IL-5+ cells, eotaxin+ cells, RANTES+ cells and CCR3+ cells were all increased in the lesions of KD as compared with those in normal tissue. Mast cells and T cells were the major source of IL-4, whereas mast cells, T cells and activated eosinophils were the main source of IL-5. Mast cells, T cells and activated eosinophils were the main source of eotaxin and RANTES.
Conclusions The number of IL-4, IL-5, eotaxin and RANTES-expressing mast cells and T cells were increased in the lesions of KD. As mast cells are lesional resident cells, these cells may play an important role in the pathogenesis of KD by regulating IgE synthesis and orchestrating eosinophilic infiltration.