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Vet Parasitol. 2002 Aug 2;107(3):251-64.

Mast cell and eosinophil mucosal responses in the large intestine of horses naturally infected with cyathostomes.

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Afssa site de Dozulé, Laboratoire d'Etudes et de Recherches en Pathologie Equine, 14430, Goustranville, France.


From December 1998 to March 2000, caecum and ascendant colon of 42 horses naturally infected with cyathostomes were collected during routine necropsy or from a local slaughterhouse. Changes in the numbers of mucosal and submucosal mast cells (MMC and SMMC), intraepithelial, mucosal and submucosal eosinophils (IE, ME and SME) in the large intestine were investigated by histochemical techniques in relation to the worm burdens. The effect of age was examined in three subgroups: 6-24-month-old horses (group 1), 2-10-year-old horses (group 2) and horses more than 10 years of age (group 3). No globule leucocytes were detected in any sections. No significant variations with breed or sex were observed in cell counts. The main variations were higher eosinophil counts in groups 2 and 3 and a marked increase of the MMC counts in the oldest horses (group 3). For each cell type, the infiltration was homogeneous and generalised along the large intestine. In the whole horse sample, the IE numbers were the only parameters that correlated with the MMC and SMMC counts. Very few significant relationships were found between mast cells and eosinophils in groups 1 and 3, whereas numerous positive correlations were recorded in group 2. In the whole horse sample, several correlations were found between different cell counts and cyathostome burdens. The numbers of larvae, adult worms, and the total worm burdens were related to some of the tissular eosinophil counts while the percentage of early third stage larvae (EL3) was linked to mast cell densities. These relations between cells and worm populations showed variations with age. In group 1, most of the significant associations were found between eosinophil counts (IE and SME) and the total numbers of larvae and worms; in group 2, they were noticed between the three eosinophil types and the total cyathostome burdens. In group 3, a MMC hyperplasia was observed and correlations were mostly recorded between these MMC and the total numbers of adult worms or the percentage of EL3. Several associations were also detected between eosinophils (mainly ME and/or IE) and different cyathostome burdens. These variations in the relationship between inflammatory cells and cyathostomes seemed to be consistent with the cellular changes observed among the three age groups. These results suggest that eosinophil and mast cell infiltrations quantified in the large intestine wall might be associated with cyathostome infection.

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