Mast cells of two types differing in neutral protease composition in the human aortic intima. Demonstration of tryptase- and tryptase/chymase-containing mast cells in normal intimas, fatty streaks, and the shoulder region of atheromas.
Biochemical studies in vitro have demonstrated that stimulated mast cells induce macrophage foam cell formation through the synergistic action of mast cell granule neutral proteases and proteoglycans. To determine the presence and number of mast cells in human arterial intima, the site of atherogenesis, specimens of normal and atherosclerotic human aortic intima from 35 autopsies of persons ranging from 13 to 67 years old were stained with monoclonal antibodies against the two major proteases of mast cells, tryptase and chymase. All mast cells present were found to contain tryptase, and an average of 40% contained chymase as well. In sections of normal intimas, fatty streaks, and atheromas, the mast cells had average densities of 15/mm2, 15/mm2, and 3/mm2, respectively. In contrast to the normal intimas and fatty streaks, however, the atheromas had mast cells distributed unevenly in a typical pattern: 8/mm2 in the shoulder region, 1/mm2 in the fibrous cap, and none in the core region. In normal intimas, fatty streaks, and the shoulder region of atheromas, the mast cells amounted to 3% of all nucleated cells. The ratios of mast cells to T lymphocytes and to macrophages, respectively, were 2:1 and 1:4 in normal intimas, 1:3 and 1:10 in fatty streaks, and 1:5 and 1:20 in the shoulder region of atheromas. Thus, among the blood-borne cells in the human aortic intima, mast cells compose a significant cell population, and in terms of their protease content, these intimal mast cells are heterogeneous.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association