Background Besides their anti-inflammatory properties, corticosteroid drugs exert anti-allergic effects. Exocytosis of mast cells is electrophysiologically detected as the increase in the whole-cell membrane capacitance (Cm). Therefore, the lack of such increase after exposure to the drugs suggests their mast cell-stabilizing effects. Methods We examined the effects of 1, 10, 100 and 200 μM hydrocortisone or dexamethasone on the degranulation from rat peritoneal mast cells. Employing the whole-cell patch-clamp recording technique, we also tested their effects on the Cm during exocytosis. Results At relatively lower concentrations (1, 10 μM), both hydrocortisone and dexamethasone did not significantly affect the degranulation from mast cells and the increase in the Cm induced by GTP-γ-S. Nevertheless, at higher doses (100, 200 μM), these drugs inhibited the degranulation from mast cells and markedly suppressed the GTP-γ-S-induced increase in the Cm. Conclusions Our results provided electrophysiological evidence for the first time that corticosteroid drugs, such as hydrocortisone and dexamethasone, inhibited the exocytotic process of mast cells in a dose-dependent manner. The mast cell-stabilizing effects of these drugs may be attributable to their “non-genomic” action, by which they exert rapid anti-allergic effects.
- Mast cell-stabilizing effects
- Mast cells
- Membrane capacitance