Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology

Stem cell factor is responsible for the rapid response in mature mast cell density in the acutely stressed heart.

PMID 22850284


In the abdominal aortocaval (AV) fistula model of heart failure, we have shown that the acute doubling of cardiac mature mast cell (MC) density involved the maturation, but not proliferation, of a resident population of immature cardiac MCs. An increase in stem cell factor (SCF) may be responsible for this MC maturation process. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine if: 1) myocardial SCF levels are increased following the initiation of cardiac volume overload; 2) the incubation of left ventricular (LV) tissue slices with SCF results in an increase in mature MC density; and 3) chemical degranulation of mature cardiac MCs in LV tissue slices results in an increase in SCF and mature MC density via MC chymase. Male rats with either sham or AV fistula surgery were studied at 6h and 1 and 3 days post-surgery. LV slices from normal male rat hearts were incubated for 16h with media alone or media containing one of the following: 1) recombinant rat SCF (20 ng/ml) to determine the effects of SCF on MC maturation; 2) the MC secretagogue compound 48/80 (20 μg/ml) to determine the effects of MC degranulation on SCF levels and mature MC density; 3) media containing compound 48/80 and anti-SCF (5 μg/ml) to block the effects of SCF; 4) chymase (100 nM) to determine the effects of chymase on SCF; and 5) compound 48/80 and chymostatin (chymase inhibitor, 10 μM) to block the effects of MC chymase. In AV fistula animals, myocardial SCF was significantly elevated above that in the sham group at 6h and 1 day post fistula by 2 and 1.8 fold, respectively, and then returned to normal by 3 days; this increase slightly preceded significant increases in MC density. Incubation of LV slices with SCF resulted in a doubling of mature MC density and this was concomitant with a significant decrease in the number of immature mast cells. Incubation of LV slices with compound 48/80 increased media SCF levels and mature MC density and with anti-SCF and chymostatin prevented these compound 48/80-induced increases. Incubation with chymase increased media SCF levels and mature MC density. These findings indicate that activated mature cardiac mast cells are responsible, in a paracrine fashion, for the increase in mature MC density post AV fistula by rapidly increasing SCF levels via the release of chymase.

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