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Expulsion of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis by mice deficient in mast cells



Expulsion of the intestinal helminth, Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, occurs spontaneously about 2 weeks after a primary infection of rats1 and mice2. Cellular changes ia the small intestine coincident with the period of expulsion have suggested several mechanisms by which this ‘self-cure’ may be effected. Local anaphylaxis was proposed as a possible means of parasite clearance; this hypothesis has been supported by the demonstration of specific reaginic antibody production3 and jejunal mast cell accumulation4 in infected animals. In addition, increased mucus secretion5 and more recently, goblet cell proliferation in the jejunal mucosa of rats6 have been noted and considered as potentially important in mediating the self-cure reaction. The data presented below indicate that in the absence of demonstrable mast cells, the course of a primary infection with this parasite is unchanged; however, they are supportive of a role for goblet cells in the self-cure reaction.

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