Intestinal Mast Cells and Their Relation to Mesenteric Lymph Nodes
Intestinal infections by parasitic nematodes, including Trichinella spiralis induce a proliferation of the number of mucosal mast cells (MMC) (1–4). These cells differ from connective tissue mast cells in fixation- and staining characteristics as was described for the rat (5) and the mouse (2). This is probably linked with the absence of heparin in the mucosal mast cells (6). On the other hand, they share the presence of anti-IgE binding capacity (7) and an immunologically comparable cell membrane antigen (4). Furthermore, in contrast to connective tissue mast cells, appearance and proliferation of MMC were shown to be thymus-dependent in both mice (2) and rats (3). Yet it is not clear whether the influence of the thymus is based on the release of a hormone-like factor stimulating a precursor cell to differentiate and proliferate in the intestine or elsewhere or on a thymus-dependent cell, which either stimulates or actually is the precursor cell of the MMC. From IgA plasma cells, present in the intestinal mucosa, it has been clearly demonstrated that they follow a specific homing pattern including a passage through the mesenteric lymph node (8,9).
KeywordsMast Cell Intestinal Mucosa Adult Worm Mesenteric Lymph Node Mucosal Site
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