Intestinal mucosal injury is associated with mast cell activation and leukotriene generation duringNippostrongylus-induced inflammation in the rat
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We examined mucosal injury in the jejunum of the rat during infection with the nematode parasite, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (Nb). Injury was documented morphologically (increase in crypt length with or without villus atrophy) and biochemically (activities of digestive or proliferative enzymes) and related to mast cell activation and leukotriene generation. At day 4 crypt length and thymidine kinase activity were increased; no changes in villus parameters were recorded. No evidence of mast cell activation was found and leukotriene levels in the mucosa were normal. At day 7, the gut was acutely inflamed and edema was present at the tips of the villi. This progressed to enterocyte detachment, resulting in villus atrophy with decreased activities of brush border enzymes. At this stage mucosal histamine was decreased and rat mast cell protease II (RMCP II) was increased in serum, indicating mast cell activation. In addition, mucosal leukotrienes (LTB4, LTC4, LTE4) were present in significant quantities. Following worm expulsion, the villus abnormalities resolved and serum RMCP II returned to normal. However, the crypt hyperplasia persisted. Our results suggest that during Nb infection at least two components of injury can be identified. One component, epithelial injury at the villus tips, may be related to activation of mucosal mast cells.
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