Jenny Hallgren and her group’s discovery of the rare human blood mast cell progenitor population implies that the development of human mast cells resembles the development of mast cells in mice.
For the first time, we have identified human mast cell progenitors1. That murine mast cells are derived from committed precursors that originate in the bone marrow, migrate via the blood, and mature to mast cells in peripheral tissues was previously known. Our discovery of the rare human blood mast cell progenitor population implies that the development of human mast cells resembles the development of mast cells in mice. The quantification of human mast cell progenitors cells via a blood test enables us to investigate whether these cells are being recruited to affected tissues in diseases. In the present study, we found that individuals with a reduced lung function had a higher frequency of blood mast cell progenitors than individuals with a normal lung function. This connection was seen both in diagnosed asthmatics and when all analyzed subjects including healthy controls were sub-grouped according to their lung function. Altogether, the blood mast cell progenitor population provides a new therapeutic target for diseases were increases in tissue mast cells aggravate the disease.
1 Joakim S. Dahlin, Andrei Malinovschi, Helena Öhrvik, Martin Sandelin, Christer Janson, Kjell Alving and Jenny Hallgren; Lineage- CD34hi CD117int/hi FcεRI+ cells in human blood constitute a rare population of mast cell progenitors