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A new era for an old cell: heightened appreciation of mast cell disease emerges

  • Lawrence B. Afrin
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Lawrence B. Afrin, MD, Division of Hematology, Oncology & Transplantation, University of Minnesota, MMC 480, 420 Delaware Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
    Affiliations
    Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn
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Published:March 09, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trsl.2016.03.003
      A special section in this issue of Translational Research focuses on an area of human biology—mast cells (MCs)—and the diseases resulting from MC dysfunction. Of hematopoietic origin, MCs soon leave the marrow (and other tissues where MC progenitors reside), circulate briefly, and migrate into peripheral tissues where they live for several to many years. Although MCs preferentially site (typically sparsely and quiescently) at environmental interfaces and around vessels, no tissue is absent of these heavily granulated cells which react to insults and other stimuli mainly by expressing potent mediators prestored in granules and synthesized on demand. MCs principally serve to defend the host and guide tissue growth and development. Long recognized as central to allergy, MC dysfunction has been relegated to mere niches in many other medical domains, principally due to the presumed rarity of other “serious” (eg, malignant) forms of MC disease.
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