EXPERIMENTAL AUTOIMMUNE ENCEPHALOMYELITIS
Immunological functions of mast cells are currently considered to be much broader than the original role of mast cells in IgE-driven allergic disease. The spectrum of proposed mast cell functions includes areas as diverse as the regulation of innate and adaptive immune responses, protective immunity against viral, microbial, and parasitic pathogens, autoimmunity, tolerance to graft rejection, promotion of or protection from cancer, wound healing, angiogenesis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and others. The vast majority of in vivo mast cell data have been based on mast cell-deficient Kit mutant mice. However, work in new mouse mutants with unperturbed Kit function, which have a surprisingly normal immune system, has failed to corroborate some key immunological aspects, formerly attributed to mast cells. Here, we consider the implications of these recent developments for the state of the field as well as for future work, aiming at deciphering the physiological functions of mast cells.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published