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J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Jan;146(1-2):1-12.

Critical role of mast cells in inflammatory diseases and the effect of acute stress.

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Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.


Mast cells are not only necessary for allergic reactions, but recent findings indicate that they are also involved in a variety of neuroinflammatory diseases, especially those worsened by stress. In these cases, mast cells appear to be activated through their Fc receptors by immunoglobulins other than IgE, as well as by anaphylatoxins, neuropeptides and cytokines to secrete mediators selectively without overt degranulation. These facts can help us better understand a variety of sterile inflammatory conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), migraines, inflammatory arthritis, atopic dermatitis, coronary inflammation, interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome, in which mast cells are activated without allergic degranulation.

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