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J Exp Med. 1989 July 1; 170(1): 245–257.
PMCID: PMC2189362

Interleukin 3-dependent and -independent mast cells stimulated with IgE and antigen express multiple cytokines


In response to IgE and specific multivalent antigen, mast cell lines (both growth factor-dependent and -independent) induce the transcription and/or secretion of a number of cytokines having a wide spectrum of activities. We have identified IL-1, IL-3, IL-5, IL-6, IFN- gamma, GM-CSF, JE, MIP1 alpha, MIP1 beta, and TCA3 RNA in at least two of four mast cell clones. The production of these products (except JE) is activation-associated and can be induced by IgE plus antigen. In selected instances cytokine expression can also be induced by activation with Con A or phorbol ester plus ionophore, albeit to levels less than those observed with IgE plus antigen. In addition, long-term mast cell clones and primary cultures of bone marrow-derived mast cells specifically release IL-1, IL-4, and/or IL-6 bioactivity after activation. These findings suggest that in addition to their inflammatory effector function mast cells may serve as a source of growth and regulatory factors. The relationship of mast cells to cells of the T lymphocyte lineage is discussed.

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