Immunomodulatory mast cells: negative, as well as positive, regulators of immunity

Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 Jun;8(6):478-86. doi: 10.1038/nri2327.


Mast cells can promote inflammation and other tissue changes in IgE-associated allergic disorders, as well as in certain innate and adaptive immune responses that are thought to be independent of IgE. However, mast cells can also have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive functions. Here, we review the evidence that mast cells can have negative, as well as positive, immunomodulatory roles in vivo, and we propose that mast cells can both enhance and later suppress certain features of an immune response.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects
  • Immunity, Cellular / genetics
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology*
  • Immunologic Factors / biosynthesis
  • Immunologic Factors / metabolism
  • Immunologic Factors / physiology
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / metabolism*
  • Mast Cells / pathology


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Inflammation Mediators