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Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Feb;7(2):93-104.

Role of mast cells in allergic and non-allergic immune responses: comparison of human and murine data.

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Department of Nutritional Medicine & Immunology, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstr. 12, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany.


The versatile role of mast cells in allergy, in innate immune responses and in the regulation of tissue homeostasis is well recognized. However, it is often not made clear that most mast-cell data derive solely from experiments in mice or rats, species that obviously never suffer from allergic and most other mast-cell-associated human diseases. Data on human mast cells are limited, and the mast-cell source and species from which findings derive are frequently not indicated in the titles and summaries of research publications. This Review summarizes recent data on human mast cells, discusses differences with murine mast cells, and describes new tools to study this increasingly meaningful cell type in humans.

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