J Neuroimmunol. 2003 Dec;145(1-2):18-26
Letourneau R, Rozniecki JJ, Dimitriadou V, Theoharides TC.
Departments of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Tufts University School of Medicine, 136 Harrison Avenue, 02111, Boston, MA, USA
Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model for the human demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
Increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) precedes the development of clinical or pathologic findings in MS and may be induced by perivascular brain mast cells secreting vasoactive and proinflammatory molecules.
Brain mast cells were investigated ultrastructurally in acute EAE of the non-human primate common marmoset Callithrix jacchus, which develops a mild neurologic relapsing-remitting course.
Control diencephalic samples contained perivascular mast cells with mostly intact electron dense granules.
In contrast, EAE samples had marked demyelination and mast cells with numerous altered secretory granules; their electron dense content varied in amount and texture with a "honeycomb" or "target" appearance, but without degranulation.
These changes were evident even before the development of any clinical symptoms and suggest that brain mast cells may be involved in EAE, and possibly MS, through a unique process that may involve selective secretion of molecules able to disrupt the BBB.