Mast cell-T cell interactions

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1999 Sep;104(3 Pt 1):517-23. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(99)70316-7.


In addition to being a major effector cell in the elicitation of allergic inflammation, mast cells have been found to be activated in various T cell-mediated inflammatory processes and to reside in close physical proximity to T cells. Such observations and the wide spectrum of mediators produced and secreted by mast cells have led investigators to propose a functional relationship between these 2 cell populations. Indeed, mast cell activation has been reported to induce T-cell migration either directly by the release of chemotactic factors, such as lymphotactin or IL-16, or indirectly by the induction of adhesion molecule expression on endothelial cells. Mast cells are also able to present antigens to T cells, resulting in their activation in either an MHC class I- or class II-restricted and costimulatory molecule-dependent fashion. Adhesion molecule-dependent intercellular contact or MHC class II cognate interactions between T cells and mast cells result in the release of both granule-associated mediators and cytokines from the latter. Also, T cell-derived mediators, such as beta-chemokines, directly induce mast cell degranulation. On the other hand, mast cell-derived cytokines, such as IL-4, have been found to polarize T cells to preferentially differentiate into the T(H2) subset. Thus T cell-mast cell interactions are bidirectional, fulfilling regulatory and/or modulatory roles affecting various aspects of the immune response.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*