Mast cells in the development of adaptive immune responses

Nat Immunol. 2005 Feb;6(2):135-42. doi: 10.1038/ni1158.


Mast cells are so widely recognized as critical effector cells in allergic disorders and other immunoglobulin E-associated acquired immune responses that it can be difficult to think of them in any other context. However, mast cells also can be important as initiators and effectors of innate immunity. In addition, mast cells that are activated during innate immune responses to pathogens, or in other contexts, can secrete products and have cellular functions with the potential to facilitate the development, amplify the magnitude or regulate the kinetics of adaptive immune responses. Thus, mast cells may influence the development, intensity and duration of adaptive immune responses that contribute to host defense, allergy and autoimmunity, rather than simply functioning as effector cells in these settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / immunology
  • Immune System Diseases / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Mast Cells / cytology*
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / metabolism