, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 2111-2116

Quantitative and Ultrastructural Analysis of Rectal Mucosal Mast Cells in Acute Infectious Diarrhea

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The role of mast cells, potential mediators ofmucosal immunity and inflammation, was studiedmorphologically in the rectal mucosa in two acutediarrheal diseases, cholera and shigellosis.Quantitation of mucosal mast cells showed that they weresignificantly higher in the deeper lamina propria whereblood vessels and nerves were more abundant. There wasno difference in mast cell counts or degranulation in the mucosa in both groups of patients andcontrols. Intraepithelial mast cells were decreased inthe patients. The prevalence of lipid bodies wassignificantly higher in mast cells from patients with cholera and shigellosis (P < 0.01). Thesefindings suggest that mast cell populations are moredense around blood vessels and nerves and thatinflammatory mediators derived from arachidonic acidmetabolites, as indicated by the lipid bodies, are theresponse of mast cells to the alterations in diarrhea,despite differences in the etiology ofdiarrhea.