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We investigated the presence of mast cell granules in macrophages following an in vivo model of an allergic reaction. Injection of ovalbumin (100 microg) into the peritoneal cavity of sensitised mice produced a rapid (within 2 h) influx of neutrophils followed by a slower (after >4 h) eosinophil migration. Ovalbumin treatment induced a high incidence (approximately 50%) of mast cell degranulation compared to control phosphated-buffered saline-treated mice. The majority (approximately 90%) of peritoneal macrophages contained mast cell granules as early as 2 h post-ovalbumin, with lower values at later time-points, as determined by staining with Toluidine blue and Berberine sulphate. This was confirmed by electron microscopy which enabled us to identify the complex mast cell granule sub-structural components in macrophage phagosomes. In conclusion, we used histochemical and ultrastructural analyses to show that mast cell granules become internalised with macrophages during the early stages of an experimental allergic reaction.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Biol Int

Publication Date





795 - 803


Animals, Cell Degranulation, Cell Movement, Female, Hypersensitivity, Macrophages, Peritoneal, Mast Cells, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Microscopy, Electron, Ovalbumin, Peritoneal Cavity, Secretory Vesicles, Time Factors