Mast Cells in Lung Inflammation

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Abstract

Mast cells play an important role in the lung in both health and disease. Their primary role is to initiate an appropriate program of inflammation and repair in response to tissue damage initiated by a variety of diverse stimuli. They are important for host immunity against bacterial infection and potentially in the host immune response to non small cell lung cancer. In situations of ongoing tissue damage, the sustained release of numerous pro-inflammatory mediators, proteases and cytokines, contributes to the pathophysiology of lung diseases such as asthma and interstitial lung disease. A key goal is the development of treatments which attenuate adverse mast cell function when administered chronically to humans in vivo. Such therapies may offer a novel approach to the treatment of many life-threatening diseases.