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Clin Exp Immunol. 1988 Dec;74(3):404-8.

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis: ultrastructural evidence for a selective release of eosinophil major basic protein.

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  • 1Unité mixte INSERM U 167-CNRS 624, Institut Pasteur, Lille, France.


Ultrastructural study of mucosal eosinophils in a case of eosinophilic gastroenteritis involving stomach, duodenum and ileum showed an altered structure in ulcerated duodenal areas. The electron core density of eosinophil granules was inverted or disappeared and tubulovesicular structures occurred. Using immunogold staining with specific antibodies, major basic protein was detected diffusely in the matrix of eosinophil granules and out of the granules in tight association with extragranular membrane formations. In contrast, eosinophil cationic protein and eosinophil peroxidase were normally distributed in the granule matrix. When compared with the eosinophils in macroscopically normal duodenal mucosa in the same patient, these changes support a role for major basic protein in tissue damage in eosinophilic gastroenteritis. The diffusion of one granule protein from the granules to the exterior of the cells favours the view of a selective release of eosinophil mediators.

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