The influence of mast cells on pathways of transepithelial antigen transport in rat intestine.
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Luminal Ag challenge of intestinal segments from sensitized rats results in a rapid (approximately 3 min) secretory response. We previously showed in horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-sensitized rats that the initial phase of transepithelial Ag transport occurred via a transcellular route and was enhanced by sensitization. However, following the hypersensitivity reaction, Ag also crossed between epithelial cells. The aim of this study was to determine the role of mast cells in the altered transepithelial Ag transport. White spotting mast cell-deficient rats and +/+ littermate controls were sensitized to HRP. After 10 to 14 days, jejunal segments were resected, mounted in Ussing chambers, and challenged with HRP on the luminal side. Electron microscopy of jejunum fixed at 2 min showed a similarly enhanced endocytic transport of HRP in sensitized +/+ and Ws/Ws rats compared with naive controls. In sensitized +/+ rats, a secretory response occurred approximately 3 min after challenge, and tissue conductance increased thereafter. Naive +/+ and sensitized Ws/Ws rats did not demonstrate a secretory response to HRP challenge, and conductance remained at baseline levels. The flux of HRP was elevated across tissue from sensitized +/+ rats but not across tissue from naive controls or sensitized Ws/Ws rats. The results indicate that sensitization enhances the initial phase of transepithelial uptake of Ag by transcytosis in a mast cell-independent manner. However, subsequent recruitment of the paracellular pathway for Ag transport in sensitized rats is dependent upon the presence of mast cells and occurs after the activation of such cells.
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