Mast cell involvement in various inflammatory processes.
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Mast cells from different tissue sites may have different histochemical, chemical, and functional properties. Whatever the basis for these differences, they must be important in terms of their biologic significance. Through their mediators, mast cells are involved in many different acute and chronic inflammatory processes. They act in delayed hypersensitivity, immediate hypersensitivity, and in granulomatous reactions. They can influence phagocytosis, chemokinesis, and many aspects of immune activity in several different T and B cell pathways, to mention only a few effects. Mast cells are involved in repair processes including fibroblast function and fibrosis. Their growth may be influenced by T cell-derived factors as well as factors derived from the epithelium. They appear to be intimately involved with nerves and can form apparent communications with neurones, especially those containing Substance P, which causes all types of mast cells to degranulate. Mast cells may therefore act as central switchboards between the central nervous system and migrating and sessile cell types in inflammatory processes.
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