Supplementary Material for: Increase of Mast Cell-Nerve Association and Neuropeptide Receptor Expression on Mast Cells in Perennial Allergic Rhinitis

Objectives: Mast cells (MCs) and nerves play an important role in allergic rhinitis (AR), but little is known about their crosstalk in AR. The aim of this study was to investigate MC-nerve interaction in the human nasal mucosa during AR. Methods: The association between MCs and nerves, the expression of neuropeptide receptors (neurokinin 1 receptor [NK1R], neurokinin 2 receptor [NK2R], calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor [CGRPR], and MrgX2) on MCs, and protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) and tyrosine receptor kinase A (TrkA) on nerve fibres in the human nasal mucosa were investigated with immunofluorescence and real-time PCR. Results: The association between MCs and nerves was found to be significantly increased, although the numbers of MCs and nerve fibres were unchanged during AR. MCs expressing tryptase-chymase (MCtc) were frequently associated with nerve fibres and these contacts increased significantly in AR. Neuropeptide receptors NK1R, NK2R, and CGRPR were firstly found to be largely localised on MCs. The number of MCs expressing NK1R and NK2R, but not CGRPR, was significantly increased in AR. Interestingly, MCtc mostly expressed these neuropeptide receptors. The newly discovered tachykinin receptor MrgX2 was not expressed on nasal MCs, but was expressed on gland cells and increased in AR. Additionally, tachykinergic nerve fibres were found to express PAR2 or TrkA as receptors for MCs. Conclusions: This study revealed for the first time an increase of MC-nerve association and neuropeptide receptor expression on MCs during AR as well as nerve fibres containing receptors for MCs. These results suggest that targeting or controlling airway sensory nerve function as a modulator of MCs may prevent allergic airway inflammation such as AR.