Transformation of human mast cells by interferon-gamma and the potential role of myeloid derived suppressor cells in mastocytosis.
Mast cells respond to a variety of signals, are associated with both increased inflammation and regulation of the immune response, and are able to interact with a variety of hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cells. The majority of the work that highlights mast cell pleiotropic abilities has been completed in murine models. Though these models have significantly advanced our understanding of what mast cells can do, they cannot inform us as to what mast cells actually do in human beings. The goal of this dissertation is to assess fully mature, primary human mast cell function beyond the well-defined type 1 hypersensitivity function and place mature human mast cells in the context of interactions with other immune cells. The first project addresses the ability of IFNγ, a historically Th1 associated cytokine, to dramatically alter mast cell phenotype. In particular, IFNγ stimulation allows mast cells to act as antigen presenting cells to CD4+ T cells. The second project describes and addresses the T cell suppressive function of myeloid derived suppressor cells in Mastocytosis, a disease of clonal mast cells.