, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 97-115

Development, migration, and survival of mast cells

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Abstract

Mast cells play a pivotal role in immediate hypersensitivity and chronic allergic reactions that can contribute to asthma, atopic dermatitis, and other allergic diseases. Because mast cell numbers are increased at sites of inflammation in allergic diseases, pharmacologic intervention into the proliferation, migration, and survival (or apoptosis) of mast cells could be a promising strategy for the management of allergic diseases. Mast cells differentiate from multipotent hematopoietic progenitors in the bone marrow. Stem cell factor (SCF) is a major chemotactic factor for mast cells and their progenitors. SCF also elicits cell-cell and cell-substratum adhesion, facilitates the proliferation, and sustains the survival, differentiation, and maturation, of mast cells. Therefore, many aspects of mast cell biology can be understood as interactions of mast cells and their precursors with SCF and factors that modulate their responses to SCF and its signaling pathways. Numerous factors known to have such a capacity include cytokines that are secreted from activated T cells and other immune cells including mast cells themselves. Recent studies also demonstrated that monomeric IgE binding to FcωRI can enhance mast-cell survival. In this review we discuss the factors that regulate mast cell development, migration, and survival.