Previous reports suggest that plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) promotes airway remodeling and that human and mouse mast cells (MCs) are an important source of PAI-1. In the present study we investigated MC–epithelial cell (EC) interactions in the production of PAI-1. We stimulated the human MC line LAD2 with IgE-receptor cross-linking and collected the supernatants. We incubated the human bronchial EC line BEAS-2B with the LAD2 supernatants and measured the level of PAI-1. When the supernatants from IgE-stimulated LAD2 were added to BEAS-2B, there was a significant enhancement of PAI-1 production by BEAS-2B. When we treated the MC supernatants with a transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 neutralizing antibody, the MC-derived induction of PAI-1 from BEAS-2B was completely abrogated. Although TGF-β1 mRNA was constitutively expressed in resting LAD2, it was not highly induced by IgE-mediated stimulation. Nonetheless, active TGF-β1 protein was significantly increased in LAD2 after IgE-mediated stimulation. Active TGF-β1 produced by primary cultured human MCs was significantly reduced in the presence of a chymase inhibitor, suggesting a role of MC chymase as an activator of latent TGF-β1. This study indicates that stimulation of human MCs by IgE receptor cross-linking triggers activation of TGF-β1, at least in part via chymase, which in turn induces the production of PAI-1 by bronchial ECs. Our data suggest that human MCs may play an important role in airway remodeling in asthma as a direct source of PAI-1 and by activating bronchial ECs to produce further PAI-1 via a TGF-β1–mediated activation pathway.l
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology52, no. 1: 88–95.