Mast cells and eosinophils have a potential profibrogenic role in crohn disease

X. Xu, A. Rivkind, A. Pikarsky, O. Pappo, S. C. Bischoff, F. Levi-Schaffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background: Mast cells and eosinophils have an important role in allergic inflammation and probably also in chronic inflammatory diseases resulting in fibrosis, such as Crohn disease where fibrosis is present as strictures. The involvement of mast cells and eosinophils in Crohn disease fibrosis was investigated. Methods: Biopsies from diseased foci were stained for mast cells, eosinophils, anti-collagen type IV and VIII, laminin and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) (IHC). Fibroblasts outgrown from the biopsies and a normal fetal intestinal fibroblast line were cultured in the presence of the human mast cell line HMC-1, or of human peripheral blood eosinophil (MACS, purity > 98%) sonicates, or of selected mediators. Fibroblast proliferation ( 3H-thymidine), collagen synthesis ([3H]-proline) and collagen gel contraction were evaluated. Results: Mast cells were present in all the biopsies and only faintly positive for extra cellular matrix (ECM) products. Pronounced eosinophilia was detected in only two cases. Mast cell sonicates increased both Crohn disease (α-SMA positive) and control fibroblast proliferation, decreased collagen production and increased collagen gel contraction. Eosinophil sonicates increased fibroblast proliferation, gel contraction and collagen production. TNF-α decreased collagen production. Histamine, tryptase and chymase had no influence. Conclusions: These in vitro data show that mast cells and eosinophils could be involved in modulating Crohn disease fibrosis by directly influencing intestinal fibroblast properties.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)440-447
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Science and Culture of the State of Niedersachsen, Germany to FLS and SCB and a grant from the Aimwell Charitable Trust, UK, to FLS.


  • Crohn disease
  • Eosinophils
  • Fibroblasts
  • Fibrosis
  • Mast cells


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