Analysis of mast cell activation using diamine oxidase-gold enzyme-affinity ultrastructural cytochemistry

Ann M. Dvorak*, Ellen S. Morgan, Rita A. Monahan-Earley, Patricia Estrella, Robert P. Schleimer, Peter F. Weller, Robert I. Tepper, Lawrence M. Lichtenstein, Stephen J. Galli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We review a new technique -diamine oxidase (DAO)-gold ultrastructural enzyme-affinity labeling -which we developed to localize histamine in subcellular sites of mast cells. The DAO-gold method showed that isolated human lung mast cells contained abundant histamine in their cytoplasmic granules, a conclusion which was verified by a large number of specificity controls. We also studied mast-cell-rich eyelid lesions which developed in interleukin-4 transgenic mice. The DAO-gold method demonstrated histamine in the electron-dense granules of mast cells in these lesions, but little or no histamine was detected in the swollen, empty granules of mast cells undergoing piecemeal degranulation. This new enzyme-affinity-gold method has permitted the first ultrastructural localization of histamine in subcellular sites of routinely prepared electron microscopy samples. The method has also permitted the first morphological studies of histamine secretion in vivo and has demonstrated that such secretion can be associated with the ultrastructural changes of piecemeal degranulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-89
Number of pages3
JournalInternational archives of allergy and immunology
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - 1995


  • Diamine oxidase
  • Enzyme-affinity cytochemistry
  • Histaminase
  • Histamine
  • Histamine secretion in vivo
  • Human
  • Interleukin-4 transgenic mouse
  • Mast cell
  • Piecemeal degranulation
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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