Some Functional Properties of Human Bronchoalveolar and Dispersed Lung Mast Cells

  • Kevin Charles Flint
Part of the The Bloomsbury Series in Clinical Science book series (BLOOMSBURY)


Much of our knowledge of mast cell function stems from early work with rodent cells, usually those harvested from the rat peritoneal cavity. In the light of the now considerable evidence of heterogeneity of mast cell function between different species, this work must be interpreted with great caution. The challenge of human lung fragments via IgE-dependent mechanisms in vitro is one step closer to human disease. However, activation of lung fragments will include effects on vascular tissue and lung parenchyma in addition to bronchi. The activation of such a mixed population of cells produces results that are very variable (Church and Young 1983) and the contribution of any single cell type to the response of the intact tissue is impossible to define. Dispersion of free cells from lung fragments allows the study of the function of mast cells in isolated cell suspensions, and ultimately with the purification of mast cells, their function in isolation. However, with increasing evidence of heterogeneity of mast cell function even between mast cells from different sites in the same tissue (Pearce 1982), the response of mast cells dispersed from the lung parenchyma may not be relevant to events occurring at the mucosal surface. Thus mast cells in bronchoalveolar lavage may possess functional properties that are distinct from those in dispersed cell preparations. In direct comparisons between these two preparations differences and similarities are now being defined.


Mast Cell Histamine Release Allergy Clin Immunol Sodium Cromoglycate Nedocromil Sodium 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Charles Flint
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ImmunologyThe Middlesex Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK

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