Allergy and Tissue Metabolism by W. G. Smith

By W. G. Smith

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Chapter III The connective tissue mast cells and blood eosinophils Since anaphylaxis in experimental animals and allergic conditions in man are now considered to depend upon a reaction of antigen with tissue held antibody and their major manifestations due to the release of chemical mediators of anaphylaxis, the discovery that in connective tissue there are cellular elements containing readily releasable stores of histamine was certain to stimulate a large volume of experimental work directed towards the possible involvement of these cells in hypersensitivity conditions.

The area of vascular surface from which the escape of fluid is possible is much larger than that in any other organ. There is about 1,000 sq. cm. of capillary endothelium in each gram of lung tissue. Furthermore, the epithelial lining of inflated lung is exceptionally thin and affords little mechanical support for the blood vessels and no barrier to the escape of exudate from the tissue spaces of the lung parenchyma into the neighbouring alveoli. (Edema of the lungs thus differs from oedema in other organs in that it does not constitute merely the accumulation of excessive quantities of fluid in the tissue spaces, but involves, in addition, the escape of exudate into the air spaces of the organ.

Frothy exudate appeared at the nose and the animals rapidly assumed a peculiar attitude described as "Kangaroolike", standing on their hind paws with the body hunched. The hair ruffled (1 mark); there was loss of reaction to pain stimuli (1 mark); the blood pressure and body temperature fell (2 marks for a moderate fall and 3 marks for a severe one). Following this stage some animals showed signs of recovery and both blood pressure and body temperature returned to normal gradually. Other animals went on to exhibit a progressive shock characterised by severe prostration, weakness, exophthalmus, cyanosis, and convulsions.

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