Mast cells in neuropathic pain: an increasing spectrum of their involvement in pathophysiology

Rev Neurosci. 2017 Oct 26;28(7):759-766. doi: 10.1515/revneuro-2017-0007.


Mast cells are immunological cells that are diversely distributed in different parts of the body. Their role in various pathological conditions such as hypersensitivity, atherosclerosis, pulmonary hypertension, and male infertility has been reported by different scientists. Apart from these, a number of studies have shown their important role in pathogenesis of neuropathic pain of diverse aetiology. They have been found to release active mediators, primarily histamine and serotonin on degranulation in response to different stimuli including chemical, nerve damage, toxin or disease-related conditions. The mast cells stabilizer has shown pain attenuating effects by preventing degranulation of mast cells. Similarly, compound 48/80 (first dose 200 μg/100 g and after 6-h interval, second dose of 500 μg/100 g) caused the degranulation of the accumulated endoneurial histamine and 5-HT antagonists have shown pain relieving effects by attenuating the effects of histamine and serotonin, respectively. On the other hand, the mast cell degranulator compound 48/80 has shown dual action depending on its time of administration. The present review discusses the critical role of mast cells in the generation and maintenance of neuropathic pain in experimental models.

Keywords: histamine; mast cells; neuropathic pain; sodium cromoglycate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Degranulation*
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Neuralgia / etiology*
  • Neuralgia / pathology
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine / toxicity


  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine
  • Histamine