In discussing the relation of the mast-cells to infections, it will be proper first to consider what knowledge we have of their composition and their various properties that may have a bearing on this question.
It has been maintained that their granules are composed of mucin, on the ground that the metachromism displayed by these granules with thionin and other dyes is similar to that shown by mucin. This seems to be the principal argument for the theory, although some also state that mast-cells are numerous in mucous membranes during catarrhs and in tumors containing mucin.
In the writer's experience, while the mast-cells may be abundant in inflamed mucous membranes, they are few or wanting in tumors containing mucin and in the umbilical cord. They may be much increased in structures where mucin seems scanty, as in scirrhous carcinoma. However, since chemists state that there are certainly a number of
WILLIAMS HU. THE ROLE OF THE MAST-CELLS IN ACUTE AND CHRONIC INFECTIONS. JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(24):1596–1597. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.62470500024002i
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