Chapter 19 . ACUTE AND SUBACUTE , AND RIEDEL ’ S THYROIDITIS
The localization and biological roles of the multifunctional cell type mast cells remain unclear in subacute thyroiditis that is characterized by both epithelioid granuloma formation and thyroid tissue repair. We examined their immunolocalization with tryptase of a mast cell marker, using the biopsy specimens from 12 cases. In the epithelioid granuloma, no mast cells were detected in any of the cases, although a small number of them (4.6 +/- 2.4) were seen at the fibrous stroma around the granuloma in all cases. By contrast, in all cases, increased mast cells (28 +/- 7.2) localized at the thyroid tissue-regenerative site where both thyroid folliculogenesis and angiogenesis take place. To elucidate possible roles of mast cells in the disease, we also examined their immunoexpressions of vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF), transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and epidermal growth factor (EGF), which affect thyroid folliculogenesis and angiogenesis. In all 12 cases, mast cells displayed all of these growth factors in a manner not specific to the infiltrating site. The data suggest that growth factor-expressing mast cells may play crucial roles in the thyroid tissue repair of subacute thyroiditis, modulating thyroid folliculogenesis and angiogenesis; and that the multifunctionality of the cells may be partly dependent on their expressions of various growth factors.