Inflammation Research

, Volume 58, Issue 10, pp 631–638 | Cite as

Mast cells and eosinophils: the two key effector cells in allergic inflammation

  • Yael Minai-Fleminger
  • Francesca Levi-Schaffer


The allergic inflammatory response is composed of two main phases—the early and the late. The early phase initiates when an allergen activates the tissue resident mast cell, triggering the release of a variety of granule-stored and newly formed mediators. As the inflammatory response progresses, blood borne inflammatory cells—in particular, eosinophils—are recruited into the inflamed tissue. Eosinophil activation and consequent release and production of several pro-inflammatory mediators results in the late phase reaction. A chronic allergic inflammation always features prominent tissue eosinophilia. In this review, we will discuss the possible channels of communication, both soluble and physical, between mast cells and eosinophils that can occur in the late and chronic stages of allergy. Such interactions, that we have termed “the allergic effector unit”, may modulate the severity and/or duration of the allergic inflammatory reaction.


Mast cells Eosinophils Allergic inflammation 





Stem cell factor








Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor


Tumor necrosis factor alpha


Transforming growth factor-β


Fibroblast growth factor


Vascular endothelial growth factor


Nerve growth factor


Eosinophil peroxidase


Major basic protein


Eosinophil cationic protein


Eosinophil derived neurotoxin


Platelet activating factor




Mitogen-activated protein kinase


Proteinase-activated receptor 2


Activator protein-1




DNAX accessory molecule 1


Poliovirus receptor


Leukocyte function-associated antigen 1


Intercellular adhesion molecule 1



This project was supported by grants from the Israel Science Foundation (no. 213105), the Aimwell Charitable Trust, UK, (no. 0364163) and the Israel Ministry Health (chief scientist office, (no. 3000002966). F. Levi-Schaffer is affiliated with the David R. Bloom Center of Pharmacy and the Adolph and Klara Brettler Center for Research in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The authors wish to thank Dr. Ido Bachelet for helpful ideas and comments.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no financial conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yael Minai-Fleminger
    • 1
  • Francesca Levi-Schaffer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of MedicineThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.David R. Bloom Center of Pharmacy and the Adolph and Klara Brettler Center for Research in Molecular Pharmacology and TherapeuticsThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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