Human Mast Cell Heterogeneity
Mast cell neutral proteases are the most precise markers of heterogeneity among human mast cells. Two types of human mast cells have been recognized. MCTC cells contain tryptase together with chymase, cathepsin-G like protease, and mast cell carboxypeptidase; MCT cells contain tryptase, but lack the other neutral proteases present in MCTC cells. All mast cells develop from hemopoietic stem cells. In vitro procedures for studying mast cell growth have been developed, using the major human mast cell growth factor, stem cell factor (SCF, also called Kit-ligand). Cultures of hemopoietic progenitor cells in the presence of SCF alone result in selective differentiation to mast cells. The same progenitor cells can be induced to differentiate into other lineages when SCF is used with various lineage-specific colony-stimulating factors such as erythropoietin for erythrocytes. Mast cell development from hematopoietic progenitors may represent a "default pathway," occurring optimally in a permissive microenvironment such as skin, bowel, and lung. The presence or absence of certain cytokines in blood and bone marrow may create a non-permissive environment, thus the absence of granulated mast cells in such locations.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 1994
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