Mast cell activation syndromes presenting as anaphylaxis

Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2015 May;35(2):277-85. doi: 10.1016/j.iac.2015.01.010.


Anaphylaxis results from severe systemic mast cell activation. In addition to IgE-mediated and physical triggers, it may occur with a clonal mast cell disease and in an idiopathic fashion without clear provoking factors. Disorders of mast cell activation are classified into primary (clonal), secondary, and idiopathic. Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a multisystem disorder characterized by objective documentation of elevated mast cell mediators during attacks and a favorable response to antimediator therapy. It should be considered in the differential diagnosis of patients presenting with recurrent anaphylaxis without a clear cause. This article discusses the diagnosis of MCAS.

Keywords: Anaphylaxis; Mast cell activation syndrome; Mast cells; Mastocytosis; Tryptase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphylaxis / diagnosis*
  • Anaphylaxis / immunology*
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy
  • Clonal Evolution / immunology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Disease Management
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Mastocytosis / diagnosis*
  • Mastocytosis / immunology*
  • Mastocytosis / therapy
  • Syndrome


  • Immunoglobulin E