Mast cells are normal cells found within the body. These cells normally function as part of the immune system. Mast cells are found within the tissues of the skin, respiratory, or intestinal tract. The mast cell possesses granules that contain various chemicals. There are binding sites on the surface of the cell for an antibody called IgE. IgE is produced in response to exposure to antigens contained by parasites. When an antigen comes by and attaches to the IgE, the mast cell degranulates and releases its toxic biochemicals that harm the parasite, but also signal other immune cells. Antigens, other than those associated with parasites, can also stimulate the mast cells. Pollen can also stimulate the mast cell biochemicals producing redness, itch, swelling, and symptoms associated with an allergic reaction. A mast cell tumor is made of many mast cells. The cells within the tumor are very unstable when they form. This instability results in the release of their toxic granules by simply contacting or touching the tumor. Mast cell tumors can be quite invasive and difficult to treat at times. These tumors may bleed or appear inflamed due to the presence of histamine and heparin (anti-coagulant) within the cells. They commonly increase and decrease in size from day to day. Treatment options vary according to the grade of the tumor, as well as a variety of other factors and may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and Palladia receptor-targeted therapy.
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Randhurst Animal Hospital
212 East Rand Rd., Mt. Prospect, IL 60056
Veterinarians serving Mt Prospect, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights, Northbrook, Glenview, Morton Grove, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, Prospect Heights, Palatine and surrounding areas
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