Stem cell factor: a hemopoietic cytokine with important targets in asthma

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Oliveira, Sandra Helena Penha de [UNESP]
Lukacs, N. W.

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Bentham Science Publishers


We review evidence that Stem Cell Factor (SCF) plays an important role in the pathophysiology of asthma. SCF is produced by a wide variety of cells present in asthmatic lung, including mast cells and eosinophils. Its receptor, c-kit, is broadly expressed on mature mast cells and eosinophils. SCF promotes recruitment of mast cell progenitors into tissues, as well as their local maturation and activation. It also promotes eosinophil survival, maturation and functional activation. SCF enhances IgE-dependent release of mediators from mast cells, including histamine, leukotrienes, cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-5, GM-CSF) and chemokines (RANTES/CCL5, MCP-1/CCL2, TARC/CCL17 e MDC/CCL22); it is required for IL-4 production in mast cells. SCF, acting in concert with IgE, also upregulates the expression and function of CC chemokine receptors in mast cells. Structural and resident airway cells express increased levels of SCF in the bronchus of asthmatic patients. In a murine model of asthma, allergen exposure increased production of SCF by epithelial cells and alveolar macrophages, which was transient and paralleled by histamine release. SCF induced long-lived airway hyperreactivity, which was prevented by local neutralization of SCF, as well as by inhibitors of the production or activity of cysteinyl-leukotrienes. Together, these observations suggest that SCF has an important role in asthma.



Stem cell factor, Chemokine, Chemokine receptor, Inflammation, Asthma

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Current Drug Targets. Inflammation And Allergy, v. 2, n. 4, p. 313-318, 2003.