IL-15 induces proliferation, inhibits apoptosis and increases IL-4 production in murine mast cells. There is evidence that these activities are mediated via the uncharacterised receptor, IL-15R-X, rather than the classical three-chain IL-15 receptor. Effects of IL-15 on important aspects of mast cell biology, such as migration and degranulation, are unknown. We report that IL-15 induces migration of murine and human mast cells in a dose-dependent and biphasic manner, with peaks of migration occurring at ∼ 10-15 and ∼ 10-9 M. The potency of the response was similar to that induced by other well-established mast cell chemoattractants. Competition assays performed with murine and human mast cells indicate that both peaks of migration are due to chemotaxis. Pre-treatment of cells with pertussis toxin (PTX), a guanine nucleotide-binding regulatory protein (G-protein) inhibitor, resulted in complete inhibition of murine mast cell migration at ∼ 10-15 M IL-15, and human mast cell migration at ∼ 10-15 and ∼ 10-9 M. This demonstrates that murine and human mast cells express a PTX-sensitive receptor, activated in response to IL-15. Additionally, IL-15 did not induce degranulation in murine mast cells. Locally-produced IL-15 may contribute to mast cell recruitment during inflammatory responses, thereby acting as a linking cytokine between innate and adaptive arms of the immune system.
- Mast cells