François, A., Ksas, B., Aigueperse, J. and Griffiths, N. M. The Recovery of the Neurally Evoked Secretory Response of Rat Colonic Mucosa after Irradiation is Independent of Mast Cells. Radiat. Res. 157, 266 – 274 (2002).
The ability of the enteric submucosal plexus to influence the transport of water and electrolytes in the colon was investigated in rats for 1 week after acute whole-body γ irradiation. The involvement of neuroimmune links in the epithelial responses to nerve stimulation was confirmed by the sensitivity of the tissue to tetrodotoxin, mepyramine and doxantrazole. At 1 and 3 days after irradiation, colon tissues were hyporesponsive to nerve stimulation. This was associated with a drastic diminution of mucosal mast cell numbers, tissue histamine levels, and rat mast cell protease II (RMCP II) levels, and by a decreased maximal epithelial response to exogenously added histamine. The responses to electric-field stimulation were insensitive to both mepyramine and doxantrazole. At 7 days, neurally evoked responses recovered, despite the virtual absence of mast cells, tissue histamine and RMCP II, and the continuing decreased response to histamine. The responses were insensitive to doxantrazole but were decreased by mepyramine. This study showed that the establishment of a normal epithelial response to neural stimulation can occur despite the radiation-induced depletion of mucosal mast cells. The recovery of the epithelial response, which was sensitive to mepyramine, may be ascribed to the reappearance of an unknown histaminergic pathway, which probably has indirect effects on epithelial transport but is independent of nerve – mast cell connections.