Immunohistochemical Analysis of Substance P Containing Nerve Fibres and Their Contacts with Mast Cells in the Diabetic Rat’s Tongue


Sensory neuropathy is common symptom of the diabetes mellitus and the prevalence of oral lesions is higher in diabetic patients. The distribution of substance P was studied immunohistochemically in streptozotocin induced diabetic rat’s tongue. The morphological association of sensory nerves (substance P immunoreactive) with mast cells (nerve fibre-mast cell contact) was monitored. The substance P nerve fibre-mast cell contacts were very scanty in control tongue. The number of substance P nerve terminals and mast cells was significantly increased (p < 0.05) in diabetes mellitus after 4 weeks of the treatment compared with the control tongue. The number of mast cell-nerve contacts was even more significantly increased (p < 0.001) in diabetes. The distance between nerve fibres and mast cells was about 1 mm and very often less than 200 nm. In some instances, the mast cells were degranulated in the vicinity to nerve fibres. Increased number of mast cell-nerve contacts in neurogenic inflammation might cause vasoconstriction and lesions of the oral mucosa, so some disorders such lichen planus, leukoplakia and cancer might frequently develop in diabetes mellitus.


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Correspondence to Erzsébet Fehér.

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Batbayar, B., Somogyi, J., Zelles, T. et al. Immunohistochemical Analysis of Substance P Containing Nerve Fibres and Their Contacts with Mast Cells in the Diabetic Rat’s Tongue. BIOLOGIA FUTURA 54, 275–283 (2003).

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  • Substance P
  • inflamed tongue
  • diabetic rat
  • streptozotocin
  • immunohistochemistry