Mast cell-associated alveolar inflammation in patients with atopic uncontrolled asthma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: A significant proportion of patients with asthma have persistent symptoms despite treatment with inhaled glucocorticosteroids. Objective: We hypothesized that in these patients, the alveolar parenchyma is subjected to mast cell-associated alterations. Methods: Bronchial and transbronchial biopsies from healthy controls (n = 8), patients with allergic rhinitis (n = 8), and patients with atopic uncontrolled asthma (symptoms despite treatment with inhaled glucocorticosteroids; mean dose, 743 mu g/d; n = 14) were processed for immunohistochemical identification of mast cell subtypes and mast cell expression of Fc epsilon RI and surface-bound IgE. Results: Whereas no difference in density of total bronchial mast cells was observed between patients with asthma and healthy controls, the total alveolar mast cell density was increased in the patients with asthma (P < .01). Division into mast cell subtypes revealed that in bronchi of patients with asthma, tryptase positive mast cells (MCT) numbers decreased compared with controls (P <= .05), whereas tryptase and chymase positive mast cells (MCTC) increased (P <= .05). In the alveolar parenchyma from patients with asthma, an increased density was found for both MCT (P <= .05) and MCTC (P <= .05). The increased alveolar mast cell densities were paralleled by an increased mast cell expression of FceRI (P < .001) compared with the controls. The patients with asthma also had increased numbers (P < .001) and proportions (P < .001) of alveolar mast cells with surface-bound IgE. Similar increases in densities, FceRI expression, and surface-bound IgE were not seen in separate explorations of alveolar mast cells in patients with allergic rhinitis. Conclusion: Our data suggest that patients with atopic uncontrolled asthma have an increased parenchymal infiltration of MCT and MCTC populations with increased expression of FceRI and surface-bound IgE compared with atopic and nonatopic controls. (J Allergy Clin Immunol 2011;127:905-12.)


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


  • Mast cells, asthma, Fc epsilon RI, IgE, allergy, peripheral, inflammation, alveolar parenchyma
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-U123
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available