IMR Press / FBL / Volume 6 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.2741/krishnas

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
The human mast cell: functions in physiology and disease
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1 The Department of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614-1709, USA
2 The Department of Biochemistry, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614-1709, USA
3 The Department of Pathology, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614-1709, USA
4 The Department of Pediatrics, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614-1709, USA

Academic Editors: Guha Krishnaswamy, David Chi

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2001, 6(3), 1109–1127; https://doi.org/10.2741/krishnas
Published: 1 September 2001
Abstract

Mast cells are multifunctional, tissue-dwelling cells capable of secreting a wide variety of mediators. They develop from bone marrow-derived progenitor cells, primed with stem cell factor (SCF), which mediates its actions by interacting with the SCF receptor or c-kit on the cell surface. Mast cells continue their maturation and differentiation in peripheral tissue, developing into two well described subsets of cells, MCT and MCTC cells, varying in content of tryptase and chymase as well as in immunobiology. Mast cells are activated by numerous stimuli, including antigen (acting via the high affinity IgE receptor, FcεRI), superoxides, complement proteins, neuropeptides and lipoproteins resulting in activation and degranulation. Following activation, these cells express mediators such as histamine, leukotrienes and prostanoids, as well as proteases, and many cytokines and chemokines, pivotal to the genesis of an inflammatory response. Recent data suggests that mast cells may play an active role in such diverse diseases as atherosclerosis, malignancy, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis and arthritis. Mast cells directly interact with bacteria and appear to play a vital role in host defense against pathogens. Drugs, such as glucocorticoids, cyclosporine and cromolyn have been demonstrated to have inhibitory effects on mast cell degranulation or mediator release.

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