Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 281, Issue 6, pp 387–391

Enzyme- and immunohistochemical localization of mast cell tryptase in psoriatic skin

  • I. T. Harvima
  • A. Naukkarinen
  • R. J. Harvima
  • M. Horsmanheimo
Original Contributions


The localization of mast cell tryptase in involved and noninvolved skin sections from 12 psoriatic patients was investigated using both enzyme- and immunohistochemical staining techniques.

Each involved skin section contained an increased number of tryptase-positive mast cells in the superficial dermis as compared with corresponding noninvolved skin sections. The substrate-hydrolyzing and inhibition properties for tryptase activity in involved and noninvolved psoriatic skin sections were identical with each other as well as with those previously described in normal human skin or mastocytoma skin sections. In four patients, epidermal enzyme activity was observed, but only in the involved skin. None of the uninvolved sections showed tryptase activity in the epidermis. This activity was not inhibited by α-antitrypsin, and after removing the enzyme-histochemical stain with Tween 20, positive results obtained with tryptase-specific antibody were found in the same locations. In addition, tryptase-positive cells were detected in close contact to lesional epidermis, but without epidermal staining in four patients. In the epidermis, the positive staining was granular, and active tryptase was detected as far as the stratum corneum.

This study is the first description of the presence of active mast cell tryptase in psoriatic epidermis, where this enzyme may have a role in increased cell division.

Key words

Psoriasis Epidermis Mast cells Tryptase 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. T. Harvima
    • 1
  • A. Naukkarinen
    • 2
  • R. J. Harvima
    • 1
  • M. Horsmanheimo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of Kuopio, Clinical Research UnitKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland

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