Ultrastructural aspects of two different mast cell populations in human healthy gingival tissue

L Fonzi, M Puttini, M Belli, L Capezzuoli, A Gasparoni


The results of our recent microscopy studies clearly have demonstrated the constant presence of numerous metachromatic cells in healthy human gingival connective tissue. Despite the great number of studies on mast cell population in many human organs (lung, skin, uterus, and bowel), at the present time few are the studies regarding the morphostructural aspects of mast cells in the human gingiva. The aim of this study was to assess by transmission electron microscopy the presence of mast cells in the healthy human gingiva and to characterize the ultrastructural aspects of mast cells populations. 30 specimens of human gingival tissue were collected from 30 patients with informed consent. The samples were prepared for T.E.M. examination. In all the ultrathin sections observed we detected numerous and ubiquitarious mast cells. These exhibited several morphological types of cytoplasmic granules with characteristic subgranular architectural variety in shape and density. This allowed us to divide mast cells into two groups: cells with granules consisted of compact coiled scrolls, fine granular material and lattice - grating configuration, and cells containing granules with discrete scrolls formed by more concentric lamellae and particulate structure. The two ultrastructural aspects observed correspond to McTC and McT of the international literature. Therefore in the human gingival connective tissue, like in other organs, two types of mast cells are clearly present. Surprisingly, the human gingival tissue shows, like the lung, McT as the prevailing subpopulation, in contrast to the skin, uterus and gastrointestinal submucosa where McTC prevail.



gingival tissue; mast cells; cytokines; chemotaxis; TNF-alfa

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