Histochemical study of cardiac mast cells degranulation and collagen deposition: Interaction with the cathecolaminergic system in the rat

A. Facoetti, S. Fallarini, S. Miserere, A. Bertolotti, I. Ferrero, R. Tozzi, C. Gatti, G. Palladini, S. Perlini, Rosanna Nano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although their role in the cardiovascular system is still largely unknown, mast cells are present in the myocardium of both experimental animals and humans. Interestingly, cathecolaminergic nerve fibres and mast cells are often described in close morphological and functional interactions in various organs. In the present study we investigated the effects of chronic interference with b-adrenergic receptors (via either sympathectomy or b-blockade) on cardiac mast cell morphology/activation and on interstitial collagen deposition. In rats subjected to chemical sympathectomized with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) we observed a significant increase of mast cell density, and in particular of degranulating mast cells, suggesting a close relationship between the cardiac catecholaminergic system and mast cell activation. In parallel, chronic 6-OHDA treatment was associated with increased collagen deposition. The influence of the β-adrenergic receptor component was investigated in rats subjected to chronic propranolol administration, that caused a further significant increase in mast cell activation associated with a lower extent of collagen deposition when compared to chemical sympathectomy. These data are the first demonstration of a close relationship between rat cardiac mast cell activation and the catecholaminergic system, with a complex interplay with cardiac collagen deposition. Specifically, abrogation of the cardiac sympathetic efferent drive by chemical sympathectomy causes mast cell activation and interstitial fibrosis, possibly due to the local effects of the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine. In contrast, b-adrenergic blockade is associated with enhanced mast cell degranulation and a lower extent of collagen deposition in the normal myocardium. In conclusion, cardiac mast cell activation is influenced by β-adrenergic influences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean journal of histochemistry : EJH
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Collagen
  • Mast cells
  • Propranolol
  • Rat
  • Sympathetic inactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology


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