Mast-cell responses to pathogens

Nat Rev Immunol. 2004 Oct;4(10):787-99. doi: 10.1038/nri1460.


Mast cells have mainly been studied in the setting of allergic disease, but the importance of mast cells for host defence against several pathogens has now been well established. The location of mast cells, which are found closely associated with blood vessels, allows them to have a crucial sentinel role in host defence. The mast cell has a unique 'armamentarium' of receptor systems and mediators for responding to pathogen-associated signals. Studies of this intriguing immune-effector cell provide important insights into the complex mechanisms by which appropriate innate and acquired immune responses are initiated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / microbiology*