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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mast cell and histamine involvement in farmer's lung disease.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the cellular and biochemical characteristics of the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid in patients with farmer's lung disease (FLD). Total cell numbers in BAL fluids from patients with FLD (n = 30) were significantly higher than in normal subjects (n = 7; p < 0.01), and differential cell counts were significantly different. Lymphocytes were the most numerous cell type in BAL fluids from patients with FLD (65.4 +/- 2.5 percent vs 6.8 +/- 0.5 percent), and analysis of lymphocyte subsets revealed increased percentages of CD3+ and CD8+ cells (91.8 +/- 0.9 percent vs 68.8 +/- 3 percent, p < 0.01, and 54.3 +/- 3.1 percent vs 30.1 +/- 3.2 percent, p < 0.01, respectively). A marked increase in mast cell numbers, as revealed by the specific alcian blue/safranin staining, was observed in patients with FLD (4.2 +/- 0.57 percent, n = 12, vs 0.18 +/- 0.04 percent, n = 7, p < 0.001). Histamine levels in BAL supernatants were increased in patients with FLD (mean = SEM, 4.4 +/- 0.8 ng/ml vs 0.9 +/- 0.1 ng/ml; median, 2.4 ng/ml vs 0.9 ng/ml, p < 0.01), and correlated positively with mast cell numbers and percentages (r = +0.63, p < 0.03, and r = +0.69, p < 0.02, respectively); conversely, a negative correlation was found between histamine levels and CD8+ lymphocyte percentages (r = -0.48, p < 0.01). Raised neutrophil percentages (5.1 +/- 0.8 vs 0.5 +/- 0.18, p < 0.05) and albumin concentrations (29.2 +/- 3.9 mg/dl vs 3.4 +/- 1.3 mg/dl, p < 0.01) were also found in patients with FLD. These findings show that increased numbers of mast cells, lymphocytes, and neutrophils can be found in BAL fluids of patients with FLD. The increased histamine levels in the supernatants of BAL fluids indicate that mast cells are activated. These data allow us to postulate a role for mast cell accumulation and histamine release in the inflammatory process of FLD.[1]


  1. Mast cell and histamine involvement in farmer's lung disease. Miadonna, A., Pesci, A., Tedeschi, A., Bertorelli, G., Arquati, M., Olivieri, D. Chest (1994) [Pubmed]
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