Study of Interest: Significance of Conversation between Mast Cells and Nerves

Our team at the Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT) Program at UT Health San Antonio wanted to share this important external study:

Significance of Conversation between Mast Cells and Nerves” from researchers at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Extensive crosstalk exists between nerves and mast cells.
The role of this bidirectional communication between mast cells and nerves appears to be multifactorial. Mast cells are thought to play a major role in resistance to infection and are extensively involved in inflammation and subsequent tissue repair. The communication with the nervous system allows the peripheral and central nervous systems to be involved in the regulation of defence mechanisms, inflammation, and response to infection. The involvement of mast cell-nerve communication in the response to stress, for instance, points to an extensive communication between the nervous and immune systems.

This study provides background for understanding the mast cells underlying TILT.

Mast cell activation syndrome and mediator release (MCAS) is an underlying mechanism for TILT and chemical intolerance, according to a paper led by Dr. Claudia Miller, allergist/immunologist, professor emeritus, and leader of the Hoffman TILT Program at UT Health San Antonio.

“Mast cells and neurons exist in dyads and are in constant communication. Anything that up-regulates or down-regulates one, affects the other,” Dr. Miller said.

How chemically sensitive are you? Are you TILTed?

Answer these three questions from Hoffman TILT’s Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (BREESI):

  1. Do you feel sick when you are exposed to tobacco smoke, certain fragrances, nail polish/remover, engine exhaust, gasoline, air fresheners, pesticides, paint/thinner, fresh tar/asphalt, cleaning supplies, new carpet or furnishings? By sick, we mean: headache, difficulty thinking, difficulty breathing, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, etc.
  2. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse or allergic reactions to any drugs or medications (such as antibiotics, anesthetics, pain relievers, X-ray contrast dye, vaccines or birth control pills), or to an implant, prosthesis, contraceptive chemical or device, or other medical/surgical/dental material or procedure?
  3. Are you unable to tolerate or do you have adverse reactions to any foods such as dairy products, wheat, corn, eggs, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, or food additives (e.g., MSG, food dye)?

If you answer YES to any of these three questions, take the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI) and share the results with your doctor!