Tissue hypoxia is a consequence of decreased oxygen levels in different inflammatory conditions, many associated with mast cell activation. However, the effect of hypoxia on mast cell functions is not well established. Here, we have investigated the effect of hypoxia per se on human mast cell survival, mediator secretion, and reactivity. Human cord blood derived mast cells were subjected to three different culturing conditions: culture and stimulation in normoxia (21% O(2)); culture and stimulation in hypoxia (1% O(2)); or 24 hour culture in hypoxia followed by stimulation in normoxia. Hypoxia, per se, did not induce mast cell degranulation, but we observed an increased secretion of IL-6, where autocrine produced IL-6 promoted mast cell survival. Hypoxia did not have any effect on A23187 induced degranulation or secretion of cytokines. In contrast, cytokine secretion after LPS or CD30 treatment was attenuated, but not inhibited, in hypoxia compared to normoxia. Our data suggests that mast cell survival, degranulation and cytokine release are sustained under hypoxia. This may be of importance for host defence where mast cells in a hypoxic tissue can react to intruders, but also in chronic inflammations where mast cell reactivity is not inhibited by the inflammatory associated hypoxia.
2010. Vol. 5, no 8, e12360- p.