Evaluation of human peripheral blood leukocytes for mast cell tryptase

M C Castells, A M Irani, L B Schwartz
Journal of Immunology 1987 April 1, 138 (7): 2184-9
Murine monoclonal and goat polyclonal antibodies against tryptase, the dominant neutral protease and protein component in secretory granules of human mast cells, were used to assess the presence of tryptase in peripheral leukocytes. Carnoy's fluid-fixed cytocentrifuge preparations of enriched populations of lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and neutrophils showed no reactivity with anti-tryptase antibodies by a sensitive indirect immunoperoxidase procedure. Dispersed human lung mast cells showed strong granular cytoplasmic staining with both antibodies, whereas only approximately 50% of the peripheral blood basophils detectable with Wright's stain were detected with anti-tryptase antibodies, and these showed a staining pattern that was faint, granular, and cytoplasmic at high concentrations of antibody. At lower antibody concentrations mast cell staining was still intense, whereas basophils were not stained. Extracts of neutrophils and lymphocytes of up to 90% purity had undetectable amounts of tryptase by an ELISA sandwich immunoassay, as well as undetectable enzymatic activity with tosyl-L-gly-pro-lys-p-nitroanilide (a sensitive substrate for tryptase) in the presence of soybean trypsin inhibitor. Extracts of basophil-enriched (6 to 50% purity) preparations contained 0.046 +/- 0.013 pg of tryptase per basophil by the immunoassay along with 2 X 10(-9) +/- 0.8 X 10(-9) U of tryptase-like enzyme activity per basophil, compared with corresponding values of 12 pg, 480 X 10(-9) U of tryptase per human lung mast cell. Thus very small amounts of tryptase are present in human basophils (approximately 0.4% of that found in mast cells), but not in other peripheral leukocytes.

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