UNIT 3.23 Generation, Isolation, and Maintenance of Rodent Mast Cells and Mast Cell Lines

  1. Bettina M. Jensen,
  2. Emily J. Swindle,
  3. Shoko Iwaki,
  4. Alasdair M. Gilfillan

Published Online: 1 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im0323s74

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Jensen, B. M., Swindle, E. J., Iwaki, S. and Gilfillan, A. M. 2006. Generation, Isolation, and Maintenance of Rodent Mast Cells and Mast Cell Lines. Current Protocols in Immunology. 74:IV:3.23:3.23.1–3.23.13.

Author Information

  1. National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 SEP 2006
  2. Published Print: AUG 2006


Antigen-mediated mast cell activation, with subsequent mediator release, is a major initiator of the inflammatory allergic response associated with such conditions as asthma. A comprehensive understanding of the principles involved in this process therefore is key to the development of novel therapies for the treatment of these disease states. In vitro models of mast cell function have allowed significant progress to be made in the recognition of the fundamental principles of mast cell activation via the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcɛRI) and, more recently, other receptors expressed on mast cells. In addition to human mast cells, the major cell culture systems employed to investigate these responses are rat and mouse peritoneal mast cells, mouse bone-marrow-derived mast cells, the rat basophilic leukemia cell line RBL-2H3, and the mouse MC/9 mast cell line. In this unit, we describe the protocols used for the isolation and/or culture of these cells and discuss the relative merits of their use.


  • FcɛRI;
  • Mast Cells;
  • Peritoneal mast cells;
  • Mouse bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMC);
  • RBL-2H3 cells;
  • MC/9 cells