Mast Cells Implicated

Mast cells play important roles in allergy and anaphalaxis, as well as protection from Mast-cell2-300x202infection and wound healing. They also play a role in the inflammatory process. This group at Tufts University observed that antidepressants are used to treat several conditions characterized by pain (CFS, fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis), but that there was no known mechanism to explain the benefit they provide to some patients. To test whether these drugs might affect mast cells, they incubated human mast cells with several different classes of antidepressants and then stimulated the cells with substance P, a neuropeptide involved with pain processing. Only amitriptyline (brand name Elavil and other names) and prochloperazine (brand name Compazine and other names) inhibited mast cells. The authors suggest this finding may implicate mast cells in the pathogenesis of CFS. (Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, June 2011)

Tags: , June 13, 2011