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J Neurosci Res. 1996 Aug 15;45(4):340-8.

Hypothesis: a possible role for mast cells and their inflammatory mediators in the pathogenesis of autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Neuroimmunology, VA Medical Center, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA.


Mast cells and their potent chemical mediators are known to initiate and modulate a number of important inflammatory cascades. With respect to the central nervous system, the role of mast cells as participants in the promotion and resolution of inflammation has been widely underestimated. Mast cell-derived histamine, serotonin, kallikreins, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) can enhance microvascular permeability, leukocyte rolling, adhesion, and extravasation of inflammatory cells into the brain and spinal cord. Mast cell mediators may play an important role in autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis by promoting the entry of autoreactive T cells and the recruitment of nonspecific monocytes across the blood:brain barrier.

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