• The bone marrow sections from five normal subjects and 18 patients with mastocytosis were examined to establish criteria to distinguish urticaria pigmentosa from systemic mastocytosis. Nine patients had increased numbers of mast cells in bone marrow sections stained with a long toluidine blue staining technique specific for mast cells, whereas five patients exhibited increased numbers of mast cells on May-Grünwald-Giemsa-stained smears of bone marrow. A positive correlation between the number of mast cells in sections of the bone marrow and the urinary excretion of the main histamine metabolite tele-methylimidazoleacetic acid was found. In ten of the examined bone marrow specimens, focal lesions containing mast cells, lymphocytes, and eosinophils appeared. The presence of these focal lesions together with either an increased number of mast cells in bone marrow sections and/or increased urinary excretion of tele-methylimidazoleacetic acid is considered diagnostic of systemic mastocytosis. No patient exhibited myeloproliferative condition or other major hematologic abnormality.
(Arch Dermatol 1986;122:422-427)