Mast cell heterogeneity Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Increasing evidence for the existence of inter- and intra-species mast cell heterogeneity has expanded the potential biological role of this cell. Early studies suggesting that mast cells at mucosal sites differ morphologically and histochemically from connective tissue mast cells have been confirmed using isolated intestinal mucosal mast cells in the rat and more recently in man. These studies also established that mucosal mast cells are functionally distinct from connective tissue mast cells. Thus, mucosal and connective tissue mast cells differ in their responsiveness to a variety of mast cell secretagogues and antiallergic agents. Speculation about the therapeutic use of antiallergic drugs in disorders involving intestinal mast cells cannot, therefore, be based on extrapolation from studies of their effects on mast cells from other sites. Regulatory mechanisms for mast cell secretion may also be heterogeneous since mucosal mast cells differ from connective tissue mast cells in their response to a variety of physiologically occurring regulatory peptides. The development of techniques to purify isolated mast cell subpopulations will facilitate future analysis of the biochemical basis of the functional heterogeneity of mast cells.

publication date

  • June 1984