3 years ago

Rheostatic Functions of Mast Cells in the Control of Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses

Rheostatic Functions of Mast Cells in the Control of Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses
Claudio Tripodo, Mario P. Colombo, Carlo E. Pucillo, Barbara Frossi, Francesca Mion

Mast cells are evolutionarily ancient cells, endowed with a unique developmental, phenotypic, and functional plasticity. They are resident cells that participate in tissue homeostasis by constantly sampling the microenvironment. As a result of their large repertoire of receptors, they can respond to multiple stimuli and selectively release different types and amounts of mediator. Here, we present and discuss the recent mast cell literature, focusing on studies that demonstrate that mast cells are more than a switch that is turned ‘off' when in the resting state and ‘on' when in the degranulating state. We propose a new vision of mast cells in which, by operating in a ‘rheostatic' manner, these cells finely modulate not only immune responses, but also the pathogenesis of several inflammatory disorders, including infection, autoimmunity, and cancer.

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