The mast cell: a neuroimmunoendocrine master player

Int J Tissue React. 1996;18(1):1-21.


This review of the literature on mast cells (MC) suggests that when activated they may play a central role in disease syndromes with a neural, immune and endocrine component exacerbated under stress. After a discussion of their biology, differential secretions and interaction with neurons, the effect of stress in causing MC degranulation is emphasized. The importance of MC in syndromes such as migraine, multiple sclerosis, interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome is assessed, along with possible therapeutic possibilities with compounds that inhibit MC activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology
  • Cystitis, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / cytology
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Mast Cells / physiology*
  • Migraine Disorders / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Neurofibromatoses / physiopathology
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Scleroderma, Systemic / physiopathology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology