In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical examinations of surgically resected specimens of human hyperplastic tonsils showed that macrophages in the germinal center and mast cells in the parafollicular and interfollicular areas expressed the transcript and protein of endothelin (ET)-1, but not ET-2 and ET-3. The macrophages appeared to be activated, since they possessed significant amounts of inducible nitric oxide synthase. None of these expressions was observed in normal tonsil. Our results suggest that the over-production of ET-1 by macrophages and mast cells may be involved in the pathogenesis of hyperplastic tonsils. Copyright (C) 1999 Federation of European Biochemical Societies.
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