Brain mast cells are selectively concentrated in the thalamus of many mammalian species. We here describe by light and electron microscopy in the normal thalamus of adult rats the features of mast cell degranulation, which indicate an active release of the mediators stored in their intracellular granules. The state of activity of thalamic mast cells in basal conditions was found to range from the release of a few granules to a massive degranulation, and the latter process was much less frequent than a partial degranulation. Mast cells were subdivided in three categories (fully granulated, partially or massively degranulated) on the basis of their cytoplasmic features revealed by acidic toluidine blue staining; the fully granulated cells were found to represent only 23 % of thalamic mast cells. This strategy of evaluation could be of help in the comparison of the functional correlates of mast cells in different conditions and experimental paradigms. However, we also demonstrated with image analysis a continuum of the variation of staining intensity of granulated and degranulating mast cells, without a sharp subdivision into different categories. Therefore our results reveal that the vast majority of mast cells are active in the thalamus in basal conditions, and that image analysis can provide an objective index of the activity of these cells.

Degranulation of mast cells in the rat thalamus

BENTIVOGLIO FALES, Marina
2001

Abstract

Brain mast cells are selectively concentrated in the thalamus of many mammalian species. We here describe by light and electron microscopy in the normal thalamus of adult rats the features of mast cell degranulation, which indicate an active release of the mediators stored in their intracellular granules. The state of activity of thalamic mast cells in basal conditions was found to range from the release of a few granules to a massive degranulation, and the latter process was much less frequent than a partial degranulation. Mast cells were subdivided in three categories (fully granulated, partially or massively degranulated) on the basis of their cytoplasmic features revealed by acidic toluidine blue staining; the fully granulated cells were found to represent only 23 % of thalamic mast cells. This strategy of evaluation could be of help in the comparison of the functional correlates of mast cells in different conditions and experimental paradigms. However, we also demonstrated with image analysis a continuum of the variation of staining intensity of granulated and degranulating mast cells, without a sharp subdivision into different categories. Therefore our results reveal that the vast majority of mast cells are active in the thalamus in basal conditions, and that image analysis can provide an objective index of the activity of these cells.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/22752
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