The mode of action of haemolysin (VVH) on mast cells from the peritoneal cavity of the rat was examined. VVH induced histamine release, and damage to the mast cells, in a dose-dependent fashion. When 1 μUg of VVH was added to . 10 mast cells at 37°C, histamine release was observed after a lag period of 5–10 s, and was complete within 5 min. The action was temperature-dependent, and was not induced at 4°C. Disodium cromoglycate, a membrane stabiliser for mast cells, inhibited the histamine release significantly, but the effect was not dose-dependent. Moreover, leakage of lactate dehydrogenase from VVH-treated mast cells was observed. These results suggest that VVH acts on the cell membrane of mast cells and is cytolytic.


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