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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Receptor-mediated modulation of murine mast cell function by alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone.

The proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-derived neuropeptide alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) is known to modulate some aspects of inflammation through direct effects on T cells, B cells, and monocytes. To determine whether alpha-MSH might similarly influence mast cell responsiveness, mast cells were examined to see if they expressed the receptor for alpha-MSH, melanocortin-1 (MC-1), and whether alpha-MSH altered mast cell function. We thus first identified MC-1 on bone marrow cultured murine mast cells (BMCMC) and a murine mast cell line (MCP-5) employing flow cytometry and through detection of specific binding. Subsequent treatment of mast cells with alpha-MSH increased the cAMP concentration in a characteristic biphasic pattern, demonstrating that alpha-MSH could affect intracellular processes. We next examined the effect of alpha-MSH on mediator release and cytokine expression. IgE/DNP-human serum albumin-stimulated histamine release from mast cells was inhibited by approximately 60% in the presence of alpha-MSH. Although activation of BMCMC induced the expression of mRNAs for the inflammatory cytokines IL-1beta, IL-4, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and the chemokine lymphotactin, mRNAs for IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, and lymphotactin were down-modulated in the presence of alpha-MSH. Finally, IL-3-dependent proliferative activity of BMCMC was slightly but significantly augmented by alpha-MSH. Taken together, these observations suggest that alpha-MSH may exert an inhibitory effect on the mast cell-dependent component of a specific inflammatory response.[1]


  1. Receptor-mediated modulation of murine mast cell function by alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone. Adachi, S., Nakano, T., Vliagoftis, H., Metcalfe, D.D. J. Immunol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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