Ultrastructural evidence for piecemeal and anaphylactic degranulation of human gut mucosal mast cells in vivo

Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1992;99(1):74-83. doi: 10.1159/000236338.


One hundred and seventeen coded intestinal biopsies were examined by electron microscopy and evaluated for morphological evidence of mast cell and basophil secretion in situ. Sixty percent of the biopsies had evidence of secretion. Mast cell secretion was evident in control biopsies, many of which were obtained from uninvolved tissues of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Biopsies of inflamed continent pouches from ulcerative colitis (UC) patients showed more mast cell secretion than noninflamed UC pouch biopsies. This evidence of mast cell secretion supports recent work that documents high constitutive levels of histamine in jejunal fluids of Crohn's disease patients and suggests a proinflammatory role for mast cells in inflammation associated with pouchitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Basophils / physiology
  • Basophils / ultrastructure
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Degranulation*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / innervation
  • Intestinal Mucosa / ultrastructure*
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Mast Cells / ultrastructure*