Clinical Reviews in Allergy & Immunology

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 432–445 | Cite as

Role of Mast Cells in Regulation of T Cell Responses in Experimental and Clinical Settings

  • Daniel Elieh Ali Komi
  • Korneel GrauwetEmail author


Mast cells secrete a wide spectrum of stored or newly synthesized pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory, and/or immunosuppressive mediators and express several costimulatory and inhibitory surface molecules. Mast cells finely tune activities of T cells, B cells, and regulatory cells and effectively contribute to the development of different T cell-associated responses by influencing their recruitment, activation, proliferation, and differentiation. The interaction between mast cells and T cells, with regard to cellular functionality and immune responses, can be assessed in both activating and inhibitory regulations. While Th2 cytokines, including IL-5 and IL-9, stimulate stem cell factor (SCF)-dependent proliferation of mast cells, Th1 cytokine IFN-γ suppresses SCF-mediated differentiation of mast cell progenitors. Mast cell mediators such as CCL5 have a role in the recruitment of CD8+ T cells to viral infection sites where their ability in clearance of viral reservoirs is needed. The capacity of mast cells in presenting antigens by classes I and II MHC molecules to CD4+ and CD8+ T cells respectively is considered one of the main antigen-dependent interactions of mast cells with T cells. Interestingly, Tregs recruit mast cells to different sites through secretion of IL-9, while the OX40L (expressed on mast cell)-OX40(expressed on T cell) interaction inhibits the extent of the mast cell degranulation. Recently, the capability of exosomes to carry regulatory receptors of the mast cell surface and their role in T cell activation has been investigated. Functional interplay between mast cells and T cell subsets has been suggested primarily by investigating their co-localization in inflamed tissues and involvement of mast cells in autoimmune diseases. In this review, the interactions of mast cells with T cells are reviewed in cell-to-cell, cytokine, and exosome categories.


Mast cells CD4+ T cells CD8+ T cells Tregs Dendritic cells Exosome 



Receptor activator of NF-κB ligand






Platelet activating factor


Mast cells


Immature DCs


Compliance with Ethical Standards

I hereby state that none of the coauthors and the corresponding author of this paper have a conflict of interest, and it has been prepared for publication without using any funding. Moreover, the paper does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Immunology Research CenterTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of ImmunologyTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  3. 3.Harvey Cushing Neuro-Oncology Laboratories, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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