Hyperplasia of mucosal mast cells (MMC) is found in many enteropathies which are caused by T lymphocytes, but their exact role is unknown. In this study we have investigated whether MMC play a part in the immunologically mediated enteropathy which occurs in mice with graft-versus-host reaction (GvHR). There were simultaneous increases in the numbers of jejunal MMC and in the concentrations of mouse intestinal mast cell proteinase both in serum and in the intestine in two separate models of GvHR. Although these changes developed in parallel with the evolving GvHR, there was no correlation between the degree of MMC activation and the severity of the intestinal pathology. In addition, mast cell deficient W/Wv mice developed systemic and intestinal GvHR as severe as their normal congenic littermates, despite a markedly deficient MMC response. We conclude that the role of MMC in enteropathy may be to regulate or repair T lymphocyte mediated immunopathology.