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Curr Opin Immunol. 2006 Dec;18(6):751-60. Epub 2006 Oct 2.

Effector and potential immunoregulatory roles of mast cells in IgE-associated acquired immune responses.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5324, USA.


Mast cells are best known as critical effector cells in anaphylaxis and other examples of IgE-associated immediate hypersensitivity reactions. However, mast cells also can contribute to the development of the late-phase responses that occur in some sensitized subjects hours after initial exposure to specific antigen, and can promote many of the features of chronic allergic inflammation, including tissue remodeling and functional changes in the affected organs. In addition to such effector cell functions in IgE-associated immune responses, recent evidence indicates that mast cells can importantly influence the sensitization phase of at least some acquired immune responses, and can contribute to the pathology of autoimmune disorders and to the expression of peripheral tolerance.

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