ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Mast Cells

Regarding Renee Twombly's article "Couple Lead Quest For New Allergy Drug" [The Scientist, Jan. 7, 1991, page 1], I was glad to read a piece that described the rapid progress currently being made in our understanding of the processes underlying allergic disease. This progress holds out the promise of new treatments for allergy sufferers. However, I would like to point out two errors. First, histamines (sic) do not come in twos or threes. Histamine is a single molecular entity (C5 H9 N3), and,

Kim Barrett
Regarding Renee Twombly's article "Couple Lead Quest For New Allergy Drug" [The Scientist, Jan. 7, 1991, page 1], I was glad to read a piece that described the rapid progress currently being made in our understanding of the processes underlying allergic disease. This progress holds out the promise of new treatments for allergy sufferers. However, I would like to point out two errors.

First, histamines (sic) do not come in twos or threes. Histamine is a single molecular entity (C5 H9 N3), and, although we have many anti histamines, one would no more refer to histamines than to acetylcholines.

Second, although the process of degranulation from some (but not all) mast cells could well be termed explosive in its rapidity and extent, the cells do not "literally explode" when stimulated by antigen. Mast cell mediator release is a highly specific process, signaled by the cross-linking of IgE receptors on the...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT