Increase of rat medial habenular mast cell numbers by systemic administration of cyclophosphamide

Toxicol Lett. 2003 Nov 30;145(2):143-52. doi: 10.1016/s0378-4274(03)00264-9.


Cyclophosphamide administration generates systemic toxicity having immune and nervous consequences. After focusing on nervous consequences by studying neuronal activity, we now consider cyclophosphamide impact on diencephalic mast cells as part of the brain immune system. Diencephalon, the ultimate sensory relay before neocortical processing, is the only brain structure containing mast cells. Single cyclophosphamide administration (100 mg/(kg 1 ml ip)) was performed in naturally behaving rats and diencephalic mast cell numbers were analyzed once all drug effects had developed (4 h postinjection). Significant increases were observed only in the medial habenular nucleus--bilaterally and especially in its caudal portion. Mast cell increase is temporally related to behavioral impairment and evoked neuronal activity in a restricted number of visceral/limbic extrathalamic structures. The medial habenular nucleus belongs to the limbic system involved in processing emotional reactions and regulation of the autonomic nervous system. Its involvement during toxic challenge is highly compatible with its presumed function in the maintenance of vital functions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / toxicity*
  • Cell Count
  • Cyclophosphamide / toxicity*
  • Habenula / cytology
  • Habenula / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / cytology
  • Mast Cells / drug effects*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Cyclophosphamide