Thymic mast cell deficiency in avian muscular dystrophy.
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In animals with hereditary muscular dystrophy there are thymic abnormalities which may be of etiological significance in the dystrophic process. This study investigated mast cell number and histamine levels in the thymus of normal and dystrophic chickens. For comparison, other lymphoid tissues, namely the spleen and the bursa of Fabricius, and non-lymphoid tissues including the comb and pectoralis major muscle, were similarly studied. Our results show that the thymus of dystrophic adult birds has a deficiency in both mast cell number and histamine content. In the bursa of Fabricius of dystrophic birds a significant elevation in histamine content (microgram/g) was attributed to the abnormally small size of this organ, rather than to an absolute mast cell increase. The deficiency in thymic mast cell number in dystrophic chickens may be significant in the postulated abnormal thymus-muscle interaction of the dystrophic process.
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