UNIT 22F.10 Differentiation of Mast Cells from Embryonic Stem Cells

  1. Martina Kovarova1,
  2. Beverly Koller2

Published Online: 1 APR 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471142735.im22f10s97

Current Protocols in Immunology

Current Protocols in Immunology

How to Cite

Kovarova, M. and Koller, B. 2012. Differentiation of Mast Cells from Embryonic Stem Cells. Current Protocols in Immunology. 97:F:22F.10:22F.10.1–22F.10.16.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

  2. 2

    Department of Genetics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2012
  2. Published Print: APR 2012


In this unit, we describe a simple coculture-free method for obtaining mast cells from mouse and human embryonic stem (ES) cells. Much of our knowledge regarding the mechanisms by which mast cells are activated comes from studies of mouse bone marrow–derived mast cells. Studies of human mast cells have been hampered by the limited sources from which they can be cultured, the difficulty in introducing specific genetic changes into these cells, and differences between established cultures that reflect the unique genetic makeup of the tissue donor. Derivation of mast cells from embryonic stem cells addresses these limitations. ES-derived mast cells can be generated in numbers sufficient for studies of the pathways involved in mast cell effector functions. These ES cell–derived mast cells respond to antigens and other stimuli by releasing histamine, cytokines, lipids, and other bioactive mediators. The derivation of human mast cells from ES cells carrying mutations introduced by homologous recombination should provide a novel means of testing the function of genes in both the development and the effector functions of mast cells. Curr. Protoc. Immunol. 97:22F.10.1-22F.10.16. © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • mast cells;
  • embryonic stem cells;
  • differentiation