Arthritis and mast cell activation

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1990 Oct;86(4 Pt 2):677-83. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(05)80240-4.


The significance of the mast cell in the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases continues to receive attention. Increased numbers of mast cells are found in the synovial tissue and fluid of patients with inflammatory arthritides, and these mast cells can be activated by many of the substances found in inflammatory synovial fluid. This activation results in the release of mediators that are capable of amplifying the inflammatory process within the joint space. Recent research has shown that mast cells also produce a variety of cytokines and hematopoietic growth factors that may have paracrine and autocrine functions that are important to the development of the inflammatory cell infiltrate. Increased numbers of mast cells are also found in many fibrotic conditions, including scleroderma. These mast cells, directly or through mediator generation, affect the function of endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and growth factors important to the proliferation and function of these cells. A clearer understanding of mast cell involvement in the inflammatory arthritides and fibrotic processes should lead to new therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism*
  • Cell Degranulation
  • Humans
  • Mast Cells / pathology
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / pathology
  • Synovial Membrane / metabolism
  • Synovial Membrane / pathology