Presence and quantification of mast cells in the gingiva of cats with tooth resorption, periodontitis and chronic stomatitis

Arch Oral Biol. 2010 Feb;55(2):148-54. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2009.11.004. Epub 2009 Dec 16.


Objective: Mast cells are tissue-dwelling granule-containing immune cells that play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of inflammation and other processes. The three most common orodental disorders in cats are periodontitis, feline resorptive lesions (FRL), and chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS). The presence and density of mast cells in the gingiva has been established in healthy cats but not in cats affected by FRL, FCGS or periodontitis. The aim of the present study was to document and quantify the presence of mast cells in the gingiva adjacent to teeth affected by FRL, FCGS or chronic periodontitis.

Methods: Samples from the gingiva of 32 cats affected by FRL, FCGS or periodontitis were obtained and compared to samples obtained from 7 specific pathogen-free (SPF) cats. Evaluation of mast cells and the inflammatory infiltrate were performed on hematoxylin and eosin, and toluidine blue stained sections.

Results: Mast cells densities were significantly increased in gingival tissues adjacent to teeth affected by FRL, FCGS or periodontitis in comparison to SPF samples. There were no significant differences between gingival tissues of the FRL, FCGS and periodontitis groups. However, the relative inflammatory score in the FRL group was significantly lower as compared to the FCGS or periodontitis groups, yet with similar density of mast cells.

Conclusion: In the gingiva of cats affected with FRL, FCGS or periodontitis, there is an increase in the number of mast cells. The high number of mast cells in the FRL group and concurrent mild inflammatory reaction suggests the notion that mast cells may potentially play role in the pathogenesis of FRL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Chronic Disease
  • Gingiva / cytology*
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Periodontitis / immunology*
  • Periodontitis / pathology
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stomatitis / immunology*
  • Stomatitis / pathology
  • Tooth Resorption / immunology*
  • Tooth Resorption / pathology