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Immunol Rev. 2018 Mar;282(1):151-167. doi: 10.1111/imr.12638.

Human eosinophils and mast cells: Birds of a feather flock together.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA.
Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Unit, School of Pharmacy, Institute for Drug Research, Faculty of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.


While the origin of the phrase "birds of a feather flock together" is unclear, it has been in use for centuries and is typically employed to describe the phenomenon that people with similar tastes or interests tend to seek each other out and congregate together. In this review, we have co-opted this phrase to compare innate immune cells of related origin, the eosinophil and mast cell, because they very often accumulate together in tissue sites under both homeostatic and inflammatory conditions. To highlight overlapping yet distinct features, their hematopoietic development, cell surface phenotype, mediator release profiles and roles in diseases have been compared and contrasted. What emerges is a sense that these two cell types often interact with each other and their tissue environment to provide synergistic contributions to a variety of normal and pathologic immune responses.


cytokines; eosinophils; homeostasis; inflammation; lineage; mast cells; mediators; receptors

[Available on 2019-03-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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