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Immunology. 1982 Jul;46(3):487-95.

Quantitative analysis of mucosal mast cell protease in the intestines of Nippostrongylus-infected rats.


Following infection with the intestinal nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, mucosal mast cell (MMC) proliferated in the jejunum and the peak of this response was associated with a nine-fold increase in the level of mucosal mast cell protease (RMCPII) in the mucosa. At this stage the protease constituted 10%-15% of the soluble protein from gut homogenates. Concomitant immunoperoxidase studies showed that during the early proliferation of the MMC, only a proportion of the cells in lamina propria and none of the MMC within the epithelium contained detectable RMCPII. Fourteen and 20 days post infection and following a secondary challenge, staining for RMCPII in lamina propria MMC was much stronger and a few intraepithelial mast cells also contained RMCPII. With time after infection an increasing proportion of intestinal goblet cells were specifically labelled, indicating an accumulation either of RMCPII or of an antigenically similar enzyme within mucous glycoproteins. The significance of the high levels of protease in parasitized gut and of its apparent cellular distribution is discussed in relation to the protective response against the parasite.

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