Mast cells and idiopathic lung fibrosis.
Mast cells are usually related with allergic reactions in the lung. This cells has a biochemical repertoire capable of modulate inflammatory reactions in this organ. The relation of this cell with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), has not been studied in depth. There is no agreement in which is the best technique for counting mast cells and what are the normal counts of these cells in the lung. We analyse some of the reported "normal values" and the differences within IPF and patients with nonfibrotic lung diseases. The results of the present study demonstrate that the largest population of mast cells in IPF patients were the interstitium (342 +/- 83 cells) compared with the nonfibrotic patients (31 +/- 8 cells), and almost equal in both groups of patients in the subpleural, peribronchiolar and perivascular areas. However, it is necessary to unify criteria, in order to define what the normal values for mast cells in the lung are.