Pavlovian Conditioning of Rat Mucosal Mast Cells to Secrete Rat Mast Cell Protease II
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Antigen (egg albumin) injections, which stimulate mucosal mast cells to secrete mediators, were paired with an audiovisual cue. After reexposure to the audiovisual cue, a mediator (rat mast cell protease II) was measured with a sensitive and specific assay. Animals reexposed to only the audiovisual cue released a quantity of protease not significantly different from animals reexposed to both the cue and the antigen; these groups released significantly more protease than animals that had received the cue and antigen in a noncontingent manner. The results support a role for the central nervous system as a functional effector of mast cell function in the allergic state.
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