The mast cell: a multifunctional effector cell.

Enrico Crivellato, Domenico Ribatti, Franco Mallardi, Carlo Alberto Beltrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mast cells (MC) are recognized key cells of type I hypersensitivity reactions. Several lines of evidence, however, indicate that MC not only express critical effector functions in classic IgE-associated allergic disorders, but also play important roles in host defence against parasites, bacteria and perhaps even viruses. Indeed, it is now clear that MC can contribute to host defence in the context of either acquired or innate immune responses through the release of a myriad of pro-inflammatory and immunoregulatory molecules and the expression of a wide spectrum of surface receptors for cytokines and chemokines. Moreover, there is growing evidence that MC exert distinct nonimmunological functions, playing a relevant role in tissue homeostasis, remodeling and fibrosis as well as in the processes of tissue angiogenesis. In this review, we provide a small insight into the biology of mast cells and their potential implications in human pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-26
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in clinical pathology : the official journal of Adriatic Society of Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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