Quantitation of tryptase- and chymase-containing mast cells in cutaneous lichen planus.
Harvima IT, Naukkarinen A, Harvima RJ, Aalto ML, Neittaanmäki H, Horsmanheimo M
The distribution and density of tryptase- and chymase-positive mast cells in lesional and non-lesional cutaneous lichen planus (LP) was analysed. For this, enzyme-histochemical staining techniques and morphometrical measurements were applied. In non-lesional LP skin, chymase-positive cells (TC mast cells) showed a distribution similar to that found in both non-lesional psoriatic skin and in normal skin. Tryptase-positive cells (reflecting both T and TC mast cells), however, were increased in number in the upper dermis of non-lesional LP skin. In lesional LP skin, there were fewer chymase-positive cells in the upper dermis, whereas there were more tryptase-positive cells. In the upper dermis, no differences in the number of tryptase containing cells were detected between lesional and nonlesional LP skin. In lesions of LP and psoriasis, tryptase-positive mast cells are increased but differ in their distribution in the papillary dermis. In psoriatic lesions, tryptase-positive cells are frequently observed in epidermal contact, a feature very rarely seen in LP lesions. The present results suggest that the increased numbers of T mast cells in the upper dermis of nonlesional LP skin may be involved in initiating the LP lesion. It seems unlikely that mast cells could be responsible for the epidermal basal cell damage, though T mast cells do participate in the general inflammatory reaction.