Aging-associated shifts in functional status of mast cells located by adult and aged mesenteric lymphatic vessels

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Sep 15;303(6):H693-702. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00378.2012. Epub 2012 Jul 13.


We had previously proposed the presence of permanent stimulatory influences in the tissue microenvironment surrounding the aged mesenteric lymphatic vessels (MLV), which influence aged lymphatic function. In this study, we performed immunohistochemical labeling of proteins known to be present in mast cells (mast cell tryptase, c-kit, prostaglandin D(2) synthase, histidine decarboxylase, histamine, transmembrane protein 16A, and TNF-α) with double verification of mast cells in the same segment of rat mesentery containing MLV by labeling with Alexa Fluor 488-conjugated avidin followed by toluidine blue staining. Additionally, we evaluated the aging-associated changes in the number of mast cells located by MLV and in their functional status by inducing mast cell activation by various activators (substance P; anti-rat DNP Immunoglobulin E; peptidoglycan from Staphyloccus aureus and compound 48/80) in the presence of ruthenium red followed by subsequent staining by toluidine blue. We found that there was a 27% aging-associated increase in the total number of mast cells, with an ∼400% increase in the number of activated mast cells in aged mesenteric tissue in resting conditions with diminished ability of mast cells to be newly activated in the presence of inflammatory or chemical stimuli. We conclude that higher degree of preactivation of mast cells in aged mesenteric tissue is important for development of aging-associated impairment of function of mesenteric lymphatic vessels. The limited number of intact aged mast cells located close to the mesenteric lymphatic compartments to react to the presence of acute stimuli may be considered contributory to the aging-associated deteriorations in immune response.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / immunology*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anoctamin-1
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Cellular Microenvironment*
  • Chloride Channels / metabolism
  • Histidine Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin E / pharmacology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Lipocalins / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Vessels / immunology*
  • Lymphatic Vessels / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mesentery
  • Peptidoglycan / isolation & purification
  • Peptidoglycan / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Staphylococcus aureus / chemistry
  • Substance P / pharmacology
  • Tryptases / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine / pharmacology


  • ANO1 protein, rat
  • Anoctamin-1
  • Biomarkers
  • Chloride Channels
  • Lipocalins
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Substance P
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit
  • Tryptases
  • Histidine Decarboxylase
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • prostaglandin R2 D-isomerase