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Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2018 Jun;54(3):432-445. doi: 10.1007/s12016-017-8646-z.

Role of Mast Cells in Regulation of T Cell Responses in Experimental and Clinical Settings.

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Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Department of Immunology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
Harvey Cushing Neuro-Oncology Laboratories, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 60 Fenwood Road, BTM building Rm 08012, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.


Mast cells secrete a wide spectrum of stored or newly synthesized pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory, and/or immunosuppressive mediators and express several costimulatory and inhibitory surface molecules. Mast cells finely tune activities of T cells, B cells, and regulatory cells and effectively contribute to the development of different T cell-associated responses by influencing their recruitment, activation, proliferation, and differentiation. The interaction between mast cells and T cells, with regard to cellular functionality and immune responses, can be assessed in both activating and inhibitory regulations. While Th2 cytokines, including IL-5 and IL-9, stimulate stem cell factor (SCF)-dependent proliferation of mast cells, Th1 cytokine IFN-γ suppresses SCF-mediated differentiation of mast cell progenitors. Mast cell mediators such as CCL5 have a role in the recruitment of CD8+ T cells to viral infection sites where their ability in clearance of viral reservoirs is needed. The capacity of mast cells in presenting antigens by classes I and II MHC molecules to CD4+ and CD8+ T cells respectively is considered one of the main antigen-dependent interactions of mast cells with T cells. Interestingly, Tregs recruit mast cells to different sites through secretion of IL-9, while the OX40L (expressed on mast cell)-OX40(expressed on T cell) interaction inhibits the extent of the mast cell degranulation. Recently, the capability of exosomes to carry regulatory receptors of the mast cell surface and their role in T cell activation has been investigated. Functional interplay between mast cells and T cell subsets has been suggested primarily by investigating their co-localization in inflamed tissues and involvement of mast cells in autoimmune diseases. In this review, the interactions of mast cells with T cells are reviewed in cell-to-cell, cytokine, and exosome categories.


CD4+ T cells; CD8+ T cells; Dendritic cells; Exosome; Mast cells; Tregs

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