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Brain Res. 1988 Mar 15;444(1):195-8.

The role of mast cells in demyelination. 1. Myelin proteins are degraded by mast cell proteases and myelin basic protein and P2 can stimulate mast cell degranulation.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


Incubation of bovine peripheral myelin with supernatants from degranulated rat serosal mast cells led to extensive loss of P0. Similarly, when myelinated axons prepared from guinea pig CNS were incubated with degranulation supernatants, a significant loss of basic protein (MBP) was observed. As cationic peptides can stimulate mast cell degranulation, rat serosal mast cells were incubated with MBP, and with P2. Degranulation was assayed by measurement of release of the granule enzyme beta-hexosaminidase and it was found that both MBP and P2 stimulated 40-50% degranulation at a concentration of 50 micrograms/ml. The results of this study suggest that release of mast cell proteases could contribute to myelin damage in both the PNS and CNS, and that subsequent release of P2 or MBP or their breakdown products could potentiate further mast cell degranulation.

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