Although mast cells (MCs) are known as key drivers of type I allergic reactions, there is increasing evidence for their critical role in host defense. MCs not only play an important role in initiating innate immune responses, but also influence the onset, kinetics, and amplitude of the adaptive arm of immunity or fine-tune the mode of the adaptive reaction. Intriguingly, MCs have been shown to affect T-cell activation by direct interaction or indirectly, by modifying the properties of antigen-presenting cells, and can even modulate lymph node-borne adaptive responses remotely from the periphery. In this review, we provide a summary of recent findings that explain how MCs act as a link between the innate and adaptive immunity, all the way from sensing inflammatory insult to orchestrating the final outcome of the immune response.
Keywords: T cell; adaptive immunity; antigen presentation; dendritic cell; mast cell.