7. Mast Cells

  1. Kenji Izuhara MD, PhD3,
  2. Stephen T. Holgate MD, DSc, FMedSci4 and
  3. Marsha Wills-Karp PhD5
  1. Mindy Tsai DMSc1 and
  2. Stephen J. Galli MD2

Published Online: 27 JUL 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444346688.ch7

Inflammation and Allergy Drug Design

Inflammation and Allergy Drug Design

How to Cite

Tsai, M. and Galli, S. J. (2011) Mast Cells, in Inflammation and Allergy Drug Design (eds K. Izuhara, S. T. Holgate and M. Wills-Karp), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444346688.ch7

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Division of Medical Biochemistry, Saga Medical School, Nabeshima, Saga, Japan

  2. 4

    School of Medicine, Allergy and Inflammation Research, Southampton General Hospital, University Medicine, Southampton, UK

  3. 5

    Division of Immunology, Cincinnati Children's Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

  2. 2

    Department of Pathology, Pathology and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 JUL 2011
  2. Published Print: 13 AUG 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330144

Online ISBN: 9781444346688



  • mast cells, derived - from hematopoietic stem cells;
  • mast cell activation, via cross-linking - of high affinity immunoglobulin E (Ig-E) receptor;
  • mechanisms, by which mast cells - being activated;
  • “Tuning” of mast cell phenotype - and activation;
  • regulation of mast cell survival and proliferation - modulation of phenotypic characteristics of mast cells;
  • exhibiting genetically determined variation - in response, to agonists of activation;
  • approaches, in mast cell function analyses - in vitro analyses;
  • mast cell development and function - analyzed using mast cells from hematopoietic tissues in vitro;
  • mast cell effector function manipulation;
  • Syk, critical intracellular component downstream - of FcεRI receptors, mast cells and basophils


Mast cells are derived from hematopoietic progenitors that complete their maturation in peripheral tissues, particularly those near surfaces exposed to the external environment such as the airways, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. The activation of mast cells to release histamine and other stored mediators, lipid mediators such as cysteinyl leukotrienes and prostaglandins, and many cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors, is thought to contribute critically to the initiation and perpetuation of allergic inflammation, and may also promote and regulate tissue remodeling in these settings. This chapter introduces the basic biology of mast cells, reviews the immunoglobulin E (IgE)-dependent mechanism and many other mechanisms that can induce or modulate the release of biologically active products by these cells, and discusses the in vitro and in vivo approaches being used to investigate mast cell function in asthma and other allergic disorders. It also describes some of the proven and potential beneficial functions of mast cells.