The history of the controversial relationship between mast cells and basophils

Enrico Crivellato, Beatrice Nico, Domenico Ribatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Work on mast cells and basophils began with their identification by Paul Ehrlich at the end of the 19th century. Mast cells and basophils were immediately perceived as closely linked cells and early nomenclature formulated by Ehrlich himself, i.e., tissue "Mastzellen" and blood "Mastzellen" , reflected this unifying viewpoint. With time, important functional affinities but also substantial diversities were recognized. This review article focuses on the historical development of the concept of mast cell/basophil specificity, from the initial identification of these cells to current studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-17
Number of pages8
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 30 2011


  • Basophils
  • History
  • Mast cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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