Lately we have been hearing talk of Mast Cell Disorders with a few people thinking Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) and Mast Cell Disorders might be the same thing. There is a correlation between MCS and Mast Cell Disorders much the same way there is a correlation between MCS and the Porphyrias.
People with MCS have 3* times the amount of the neurotransmitter known as substance P** as normal people. One of the properties of substance P is that it can activate mast cells by nerve conduction. This mast cell activation is what gives MCS sufferers many of the symptoms of Mast Cell Disorders.
The major difference is that MCS mast cell symptoms wax and wane with exposures which can affect the amount of substance P an exposure is generating. For Mast Cells Disorders that suffering is constant yet not as extensive as seen in MCS. -C
* Kimata, H.: “Effect of exposure to volatile organic compounds on plasma levels of neuropeptides, nerve growth factor and histamine in patients with self-reported multiple chemical sensitivity,” International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, February 2004; 207(2):159-163 [CIIN 0112-KIMA-04-005]
** Meggs, W.J.: "Neurogenic Inflammation and Sensitivity to Environmental Chemicals," Environmental Health Perspectives, August 1993; 101(3):234-238. [CIIN No. 0112-MEGG-93-005a]