Background. This study shows increased infiltration of mast cells in the walls of varicose veins in the lower limbs as an explanation of the pathogenesis of varix formation. Methods. Great saphenous veins exhibiting varicosity were histologically examined after vein stripping surgery and the numbers of mast cells in the varicose lesions were estimated in 20 high- power fields (x400). Normal-looking regions of the veins were referred to as controls, and normal saphenous veins were prepared during coronary artery bypass grafting and designated baseline controls. Results. The varicose lesions showed a greater extent of mast cell infiltration (15.0 ± 8.4 cells; mean ± standard deviation), whereas control veins (5.9 ± 4.0) and baseline control veins (4.4 ± 2.9) had a smaller number mast cells. Conclusions. The study suggests that increased must cell infiltration contributes to the development of varicose veins.
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