Gonadal steroids regulate the number and activational state of mast cells in the medial habenula

M. Wilhelm, Blythe King, Ann Judith Silverman, Rae Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While mast cells in connective tissues have long been associated with allergic reactions, it is now clear that they are also present within the central nervous system under normal physiological conditions. The mast cell population increases 10-fold in the medial habenular region of the brain within 2 h after pairing in doves. The first study explored whether this increase was due to exposure to gonadal steroids. Light microscopic immunocytochemistry indicates an increased number of brain MC following exposure to either testosterone (T) or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the male, or 17 β estradiol (E) in the female, but not in cholesterol-treated controls. Thus, the increased habenular MC population is produced by gonadal hormones in the absence of sexual behavior, is not sexually dimorphic, and does not require aromatization of androgen. In the next study, MC activational state was determined using electron microscopy. Cells were categorized into five states: (I) resting; (II) initiation of degranulation; (III) fully degranulated; (IV) piecemeal secretion; and (V) resynthesizing. Hormone treatment (T, DHT, or E) resulted in a significant increase in the percent of cells in activated states. MC granules contain a wide range of biologically active molecules. The release of these granule contents into the neuropil of the central nervous system is likely to have wide ranging effects at multiple levels including vascular permeability and neuronal excitability. In that steroid treatment is known to result in such effects, the present demonstration of a hormonally induced shift in MC secretory state is one avenue by which these effects are mediated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1186
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrinology
Volume141
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Fingerprint

Habenula
Dihydrotestosterone
Mast Cells
Central Nervous System
Steroids
Gonadal Hormones
Neuropil
Columbidae
Brain
Capillary Permeability
Sexual Behavior
Connective Tissue
Population
Androgens
Testosterone
Estradiol
Electron Microscopy
Hypersensitivity
Immunohistochemistry
Cholesterol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Cite this

Gonadal steroids regulate the number and activational state of mast cells in the medial habenula. / Wilhelm, M.; King, Blythe; Silverman, Ann Judith; Silver, Rae.

In: Endocrinology, Vol. 141, No. 3, 2000, p. 1178-1186.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wilhelm, M. ; King, Blythe ; Silverman, Ann Judith ; Silver, Rae. / Gonadal steroids regulate the number and activational state of mast cells in the medial habenula. In: Endocrinology. 2000 ; Vol. 141, No. 3. pp. 1178-1186.
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