Extracellular localization of human connective tissue mast cell granule contents

Michael S. Kaminer, Robert M. Lavker*, Laurence J. Walsh, Diana Whitaker, Burton Zweiman, George F. Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In early phases of cutaneous inflammation, connective tissue mast cell degranulation is associated with apparent secretion and externalization of immunoreactive chymotryptic serine proteinase. To determine whether this event is associated with structural evidence of granule externalization, we studied the sequential evolution of IgE-mediated hypersensitivity in vivo, as well as mast cell degranulation provoked by a variety of stimuli in cultured explants of human skin. By 1 min after intradermal antigen challenge with ragweed extract, mast cell degranulation was associated with apparent extrusion of intragranule constituents into the pericellular connective tissue. Similar features typified cultured skin explants exposed for 45 min to anti-IgE and other mast cell secretagogues (morphine sulfate, calcium ionophore A23187, compound 48 80, and substance P). Once externalized, granule constituents could be identified within the dermal matrix by their rounded contour and structural similarity to solubilized granule matrices remaining within actively secreting cells. These data indicate that externalization of connective tissue mast cell granule contents occurs early after secretagogue exposure, potentially accounting for infrequent documentation of this event in naturally occurring dermatoses. The ability to recognize externalized granule products at a morphologic level should facilitate the understanding of interactions between mast cell - derived mediators and target structures of the dermal microvasculature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-863
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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