Human conjunctival mast cells: Distribution of MCT and MCTC in vernal conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis

Anne Marie A Irani, Salim I. Butrus, Khalid F. Tabbara, Lawrence B. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The distribution and concentration of human tryptase-positive, chymase-negative mast cells (MCts) and tryptase-positive, chymase-positive mast cells (MCTCs) were examined in conjunctival biopsy specimens from subjects with active vernal conjunctivitis (VC; n=7), giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC; n=6), and allergic conjunctivitis (AC; n=5), and from asymptomatic soft-contact lens wearers (SCL; n=6) and normal control individuals (n=19). Carnoy's fixed tissue sections were stained by a double immunohistochemical method using a biotinylated mouse monoclonal antichymase antibody with immunoperoxidase, followed by an alkaline phosphatase-conjugated mouse monoclonal antitryptase antibody. Epithelial mast cells (MCs) were found in all VC specimens (96% MCTCs) and in three GPC specimens (100% MCTCs) but in none of the other groups. In the substantia propria, MCTCs were the predominant type of MC observed in all specimens, accounting for 95% of the total MCs in the normal control group and 100% of the total MCs in the subjects with GPC, AC, and SCL. No significant differences were found in the total MC concentration of the substantia propria among the normal control subjects (11,054±6327 MCs per cubic millimeter), subjects in the SCL group (13,168±4685 MCs per cubic millimeter), subjects with GPC (17,313±8500 MCs per cubic millimeter), and subjects with AC (15,380±5660 MCs per cubic millimeter). In subjects with VC, the percentage of MCTs (18%±13%) and the total MC concentration (24,689±18,978 MCs per cubic millimeter) in the substantia propria were significantly increased as compared to the normal control group. Recruitment of MCTs into the inflamed conjunctiva of VC but not of GPC or AC may have important implications regarding pathogenesis as well as treatment of these various disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


Dive into the research topics of 'Human conjunctival mast cells: Distribution of MCT and MCTC in vernal conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this