Hypotheses on the pathogenesis of heartwater, which have been published so far, are briefly reviewed. Attempts were made at counteracting the effects of vaso-active substances released by mast cells by treating mice infected with Cowdria ruminantium with antagonists to histamin and serotonin on one hand, and with mast cell stabilizers on the other, but were not successful. Preliminary findings suggest that a hypersensitive type of reaction, triggered by the release of pharmacologically active substances, may possibly be basic to the pathogenesis of heartwater. Complement, and the products of arachidonic acid metabolism, possibly play a role in the release of the vaso-active substances.
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