Simple Summary In this study, we investigated the putative regulatory role of the pituitary-thyroid axis on mast cells (MCs). We found that hypothyroidism resulted in a significant increase in number of MCs and the histamine content in the skin and exorbital lacrimal gland of Wistar rats, Rattus norvegicus. Furthermore, an increase in the percentage of degranulating MCs suggests that the thyroid status also influences the activation state of these cells. The morphological features and relative number of mast cells (MCs) were studied in the skin and exorbital lacrimal glands of hypothyroid Wistar rats, Rattus norvegicus. Hypothyroidism significantly increased the number of MCs (up to 4.5-fold) and histamine content (up to 50%) in the examined tissues. The magnitude of the increase in the number of MCs was greater in the cheek skin and exorbital lacrimal glands than in the back skin. In the skin, the MCs were mainly located within the hypodermis and closely associated with the blood vessels, nerve fascicles, and adipocytes. In the exorbital lacrimal gland, which is a seromucous gland located lateral to the cheek below the ear, the MCs were distributed in the connective tissue surrounding the acini. The secretory granules of MCs showed histochemical characteristics of connective tissue MCs. They were metachromatic with Toluidine blue and safranin positive with the Alcian blue/safranin reactions. Finally, a significant increase in degranulating MCs was observed in hypothyroid tissues, relative to euthyroid tissues. At the ultrastructural level, the MCs of euthyroid rats were predominantly non-degranulating (Stage I). In hypothyroid animals, numerous MCs showed partial degranulation (Stage II-III) or were in a stage of complete degranulation. Our results concerning the skin and exorbital lacrimal gland suggested that the thyroid status might be involved in regulating the frequency and activation state of MCs.
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