Purified rat peritoneal mast cells adhere to schistosomula of Schistosoma mansoni which have been pre-incubated in fresh normal rat serum. This cytoadherence reaction is dependent on complement and in particular on components of the alternative pathway. Since antibodies to rat C3 but not IgG block the attachment of the cells to the complement-treated larvae, it appears that C3-specific receptors on the mast cell surface are responsible for the adherence phenomenon. These receptors can also be demonstrated by the rosetting of mast cells with rat complement-treated zymosan particles or fluoresceinated bacteria. The key properties of the receptors are their specificity for homologous (rat) complement, their sensitivity to digestion with trypsin, and their functional dependence on Mg+ + ions. Thus, the rat mast cell receptors share many of the characteristics of the C3 receptors previously identified on monocytes, macrophages, and polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

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This work was supported by grants from the Edna McConnell Clark and Rockefeller Foundations.

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