Although mediator release from mast cells and basophils plays a central role in the pathogenesis of human allergic disease, biochemical studies have been restricted to rat peritoneal mast cells and basophilic leukemia cells because they could be easily purified. The authors have used two new techniques of cell separation to purify human lung mast cells to 98% homogeneity. Lung cell suspensions were obtained by dispersion of chopped lung tissue with proteolytic enzymes. Mast cells were then purified from the suspensions by countercurrent centrifugal elutriation and affinity chromatography. The purified mast cells released both histamine and slow-reacting substance of anaphylaxis (SRS-A) (leukotriene C and D) during stimulation with goat anti-human IgE antibody. Moreoever, these preparations were able to generate significant quantities of SRS-A (32 ± 7 x 10-17 LTD mole-equivalents/mast cell) at all stages of purification, indicating that a secondary cell is not necessary for the antigen-induced release of SRS.
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