Mast cells in human digestive tube in normal and pathological conditions

Anna Rizzi, Enrico Crivellato, Vincenzo Benagiano, Domenico Ribatti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Mast cells (MCs) are localized in connective tissues and are more numerous near the boundaries between the external environment and the internal milieu including the skin, the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract and the conjunctiva. In the gastrointestinal tract, MCs represent 1–5% of mononuclear cells in the lamina propria of the mucosa and in the submucosa, and they are also found inside the epithelium and deep in the muscle and serosal layers. The gastrointestinal MCs perform their biological functions, releasing mediators, as amines (histamine, serotonin), cytokines, proteases, lipid mediators (leukotrienes, prostaglandins), and heparin. MCs are involved in the pathogenesis of different inflammatory conditions and tumors of the gastrointestinal tract. The use of MCs’ tryptase inhibitors or c-KitR tyrosine kinase inhibitors could represent a potential anti-MC therapeutic approach in all the inflammatory and tumor pathological conditions of the digestive tube in which MCs are involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-21
Number of pages6
JournalImmunology Letters
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Digestive tube
  • Ileum
  • Inflammation
  • Mast cells
  • Tumors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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