Characterization of human mast cells developed in vitro from fetal liver cells cocultured with murined 3T3 fibroblasts

A. A. Irani, S. S. Craig, G. Nilsson, T. Ishizaka, L. B. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Cocultures of dispersed human fetal liver cells with murine Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts resulted in the development of human mast cells after 1 to 4 weeks of culture. Mast cells were detected by immunohistochemistry using a murine monoclonal anti-tryptase antibody, before metachromasia appeared with toluidine blue. When subjected to double immunohistochemistry using murine monoclonal anti-chymase and anti-tryptase antibodies, 94% ± 10% (SD) of the mast cells seen at day 30 of culture were of the MC(T) type. These results contrast with those obtained with human mast cells derived from cord blood mononuclear cells cocultured with murine 3T3 fibroblasts which are comprised of substantially greater numbers of MC(TC) cells, averaging 48% ± 31% (SD) at day 30 of culture. Mast cells developed in vitro from fetal liver cells or cord blood mononuclear cells contained similar amounts (±SD) of histamine (0.9 ± 0.5 pg/cell and 1.1 ± 1 pg/cell, respectively) and tryptase (1.7 ± 0.4 pg/cell and 1.9 ± 1.2 pg/cell, respectively) on day 30 of culture. Fetal-liver-derived mast cells from a 30-day-old culture were identified by immunoelectron microscopy using gold-labelled anti-tryptase antibody. Typically, these mast cells appeared immature as they had large nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio and a small number of ill-formed cytoplasmic granules. For both fetal-liver- and cord-blood-derived mast cells, there was no evidence of conversion of the MC(T) type into the MC(TC) type provided by this study. These results suggest that commitment to develop as an MC(T) or MC(TC) type of mast cell may have occurred in mast cell precursors present in fetal liver and cord blood mononuclear cells, prior to granulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-143
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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