Mast cells can promote the development of multiple features of chronic asthma in mice.

Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5324, USA.
Journal of Clinical Investigation (Impact Factor: 13.77). 07/2006; 116(6):1633-41. DOI: 10.1172/JCI25702
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bronchial asthma, the most prevalent cause of significant respiratory morbidity in the developed world, typically is a chronic disorder associated with long-term changes in the airways. We developed a mouse model of chronic asthma that results in markedly increased numbers of airway mast cells, enhanced airway responses to methacholine or antigen, chronic inflammation including infiltration with eosinophils and lymphocytes, airway epithelial goblet cell hyperplasia, enhanced expression of the mucin genes Muc5ac and Muc5b, and increased levels of lung collagen. Using mast cell-deficient (Kit(W-sh/W-sh) and/or Kit(W/W-v)) mice engrafted with FcRgamma+/+ or FcRgamma-/- mast cells, we found that mast cells were required for the full development of each of these features of the model. However, some features also were expressed, although usually at less than wild-type levels, in mice whose mast cells lacked FcRgamma and therefore could not be activated by either antigen- and IgE-dependent aggregation of Fc epsilonRI or the binding of antigen-IgG1 immune complexes to Fc gammaRIII. These findings demonstrate that mast cells can contribute to the development of multiple features of chronic asthma in mice and identify both Fc Rgamma-dependent and Fc Rgamma-independent pathways of mast cell activation as important for the expression of key features of this asthma model.

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    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer progression toward metastatic disease is linked to re-activation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a latent developmental process. Breast cancer cells undergoing EMT lose epithelial characteristics and gain the capacity to invade the surrounding tissue and migrate away from the primary tumor. However, less is known about the possible role of EMT in providing cancer cells with properties that allow them to traffic to distant sites. Given the fact that pro-metastatic cancer cells share a unique capacity with immune cells to traffic in-and-out of blood and lymphatic vessels we hypothesized that tumor cells undergoing EMT may acquire properties of immune cells. To study this, we performed gene-profiling analysis of mouse mammary EpRas tumor cells that had been allowed to adopt an EMT program after long-term treatment with TGF-β1 for 2 weeks. As expected, EMT cells acquired traits of mesenchymal cell differentiation and migration. However, in addition, we found another cluster of induced genes, which was specifically enriched in monocyte-derived macrophages, mast cells, and myeloid dendritic cells, but less in other types of immune cells. Further studies revealed that this monocyte/macrophage gene cluster was enriched in human breast cancer cell lines displaying an EMT or a Basal B profile, and in human breast tumors with EMT and undifferentiated (ER-/PR-) characteristics. The results identify an EMT-induced monocyte/macrophage gene cluster, which may play a role in breast cancer cell dissemination and metastasis.

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