Human mast cells produce the CD4+ T lymphocyte chemoattractant factor, IL-16

Vanitcha Rumsaeng, William W. Cruikshank, Barbara Foster, Caiman Prussin, Arnold S. Kirshenbaum, Thomas A. Davis, Hardy Kornfeld, David M. Center, Dean D. Metcalfe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


CD4+ T cell infiltration is known to occur in tissues at sites of mast cell activation. The molecules produced and released by mast cells that account for this lymphocyte accumulation are poorly characterized. Here we report that a CD4+ T cell chemoattractant cytokine, IL-16, is stored preformed in bone marrow-cultured human mast cells and a human mast cell line, HMC-1, as demonstrated by intracytoplasmic cytokine staining and flow cytometry, and in human lung mast cells, as detected by immunohistochemistry. In response to the anaphylatoxin, C5a, or to PMA treatment, IL-16 mRNA transcripts detected by Northern blot analysis in HMC-1 cells increased 6- to 10-fold. HMC-1 cell lysates and activated supernatants contained IL-16 protein, as demonstrated by both ELISA and in vitro lymphocyte chemotaxis assays, the latter of which was blocked 59 to 88% by the addition of neutralizing Ab to recombinant human IL-16. IL-16 bioactivity was detected in the supernatants 2 to 4 h after PMA or C5a activation, and this activity remained elevated through 24 h. The capacity of human mast cells to synthesize and release biologically active IL-16 provides a possible link between mast cell activation and the accumulation of T cells in mast cell-dependent inflammation, thus amplifying the immune response and perpetuating the pathologic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2904-2910
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


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