Activated MCTC mast cells infiltrate diseased lung areas in cystic fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Mast cell (MC) fibroblast interactions may have a role in health and disease. We analyzed the relationships between these cells by utilizing our in vitro model in which mucosal (MMC) and connective tissue (CTMC) type MC were cocultured long-term with different fibroblasts. Mouse 3T3 fibroblasts were used to provide a normal microenvironment for MC, while fibroblasts derived from mouse with chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) provided a fibrotic one. We found that both 3T3 and cGVHD fibroblasts maintain CTMC viability, phenotype and functional activity. When MMC were cocultured with 3T3 or cGVHD fibroblasts, they changed their phenotype towards that of CTMC. On the other hand, MCs were found to affect fibroblast properties. Coculture of MMC on 3T3 monolayers was shown to increase Forsmann antigen production and collagen synthesis and stimulate fibroblast proliferation. Resting CTMC or CTMC activated by anaphylactic stimuli induced 3T3 and cGVHD fibroblasts to proliferate more. In addition, CTMC activation increased collagen production by 3T3 fibroblasts. In conclusion, fibroblasts were found to regulate MC survival and differentiation, whereas MCs were shown to affect the biochemical properties of fibroblasts, which can lead to fibrosis.