Morphological and secretory properties of bronchoalveolar lavage mast cells in respiratory diseases

Authors

  • A. J. WARDLAW,

    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
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  • O. CROMWELL,

    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
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  • D. CELESTINO,

    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
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  • P. FITZHARRIS,

    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
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  • D. M. GEDDES,

    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
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  • J. V. COLLINS,

    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
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  • A. B. KAY

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, London, SW3, U.K.
      Professor A. B. Kay, Director, Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HP, U.K.
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Professor A. B. Kay, Director, Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Cardiothoracic Institute, Brompton Hospital, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HP, U.K.

Summary

We have studied various functional and morphological characteristics of mast cells obtained in bronchoalveolar lavage from fifty-two patients with several lung diseases. The percentage of mast cells ranged from 0.04 to 0.6% (bronchial carcinoma). 0.05–0.3% (sarcoidosis), 0.06–0.25% (asthma), 0.04–1.8% (miscellaneous) and 0.02–0.04% (normals). There were no significant differences in the mast cell counts between the disease groups. Lung mast cells exhibited heterogeneity of size, shape and intensity of staining. Cells from thirty-seven subjects were further studied for total histamine content and histamine release using various secretagogues. There was a significant correlation (P<0.001) between the histamine content of the total lavage cell population and mast cell counts. The calculated mean histamine content per mast cell was 6.35 pg. Histamine was released in a dose-dependent fashion after stimulation with anti-IgE, calcium ionophore and phorbol myristate acetate with a time course of histamine release characteristic of the mast cell. Unlike peripheral blood basophils, no release was observed following incubation with f-met-leu-phe (10−6-10−8m) and neither cell type released histamine following incubation with 48/80 (10 μg/ml). Inhibition of anti-IgE-induced histamine release was obtained following pre-incubation with salbutamol (10−4-10−6m). These studies indicate that bronchoalveolar lavage is a suitable model for the study of human lung mast cells.

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