A Review of the Contribution of Mast Cells in Wound Healing: Involved Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms

  • Daniel Elieh Ali Komi
  • Kelly Khomtchouk
  • Peter Luke Santa MariaEmail author


Mast cells (MCs), apart from their classic role in allergy, contribute to a number of biologic processes including wound healing. In particular, two aspects of their histologic distribution within the skin have attracted the attention of researchers to study their wound healing role; they represent up to 8% of the total number of cells within the dermis and their cutaneous versions are localized adjacent to the epidermis and the subdermal vasculature and nerves. At the onset of a cutaneous injury, the accumulation of MCs and release of proinflammatory and immunomodulatory mediators have been well documented. The role of MC-derived mediators has been investigated through the stages of wound healing including inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. They contribute to hemostasis and clot formation by enhancing the expression of factor XIIIa in dermal dendrocytes through release of TNF-α, and contribute to clot stabilization. Keratinocytes, by secreting stem cell factor (SCF), recruit MCs to the site. MCs in return release inflammatory mediators, including predominantly histamine, VEGF, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-8, that contribute to increase of endothelial permeability and vasodilation, and facilitate migration of inflammatory cells, mainly monocytes and neutrophils to the site of injury. MCs are capable of activating the fibroblasts and keratinocytes, the predominant cells involved in wound healing. MCs stimulate fibroblast proliferation during the proliferative phase via IL-4, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) to produce a new extracellular matrix (ECM). MC-derived mediators including fibroblast growth factor-2, VEGF, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), TGF-β, nerve growth factor (NGF), IL-4, and IL-8 contribute to neoangiogenesis, fibrinogenesis, or reepithelialization during the repair process. MC activation inhibition and targeting the MC-derived mediators are potential therapeutic strategies to improve wound healing through reduced inflammatory responses and scar formation.


Angiogenesis Mast cells Mediators Scar formation Wound healing 



Basic fibroblast growth factor


Extracellular matrix


Fibroblast growth factor


Insulin-like growth factor


Keratinocyte growth factor


Mast cell


Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1


Macrophage inflammatory protein-2


Matrix metalloproteinases


Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1


Platelet-derived growth factor


Stem cell factor


Transforming growth factor β


Tissue-type plasminogen activator


Vascular endothelial growth factor


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

No informed consent was required to prepare the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Elieh Ali Komi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kelly Khomtchouk
    • 3
  • Peter Luke Santa Maria
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Immunology Research CenterTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of ImmunologyTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  3. 3.Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, School of MedicineStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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