Histochemical and Immunohistochemical Characteristics of Mast Cells in Nasal Polyps
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In surgically excised nasal polyps, most epithelial mast cells were formalin sensitive, chloroacetate esterase (CAE) negative, and chymase negative. Thus, this represents a population of mast cells not identified by staining for CAE. On the other hand, most stromal mast cells were formalin resistant and CAE positive, and although there was some polyp-to-polyp variability in their content of neutral protease, most of these cells were positive for both tryptase and chymase. The percentage of metachromatic cells in the epithelium and the number of metachromatic cells per unit area of polyp tissue did not correlate with an index of allergy skin test reactivity or the serum IgE concentration. The percentage of mast cells surrounded by pericellular tryptase, suggesting activation/degranulation, was significantly higher in the stroma than in the epithelium. The findings demonstrate differences between the stroma and the epithelium in phenotype and state of activation of mast cells; these are postulated to be due to distinct microenvironmental factors that affect mast cells at these sites.
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