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Mast Cells as Critical Effectors of Host Immune Defense against Gram-negative Bacteria

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Mast cells are best known as central effector cells in IgE-mediated type I allergic diseases including asthma and hay fever. An increasing amount of evidence, however, has demonstrated that mast cells are sentinel cells playing a critical role in host defense against invading microbes. Mast cells are located immediately beneath the epithelial surfaces exposed to the outer environment, such as genitourinary and gastrointestinal tracts, skin, and airways. This review discusses recent studies on the critical roles of mast cells in host defense against Gram-negative bacterial infection. Mast cells are equipped with multiple receptors detecting the invading Gram-negative bacteria in both direct (opsonin-independent) and indirect (opsonin-dependent) mechanisms. The former includes Toll-like receptors (TLRs), CD48, and nucleotide-binding oligomerization (NOD) proteins, while the latter includes Fcγ receptors (FcγRs) and complement receptors. In addition to the detecting systems, mast cells are also armed with versatile tools to combat and kill Gram-negative bacteria. In response to the recognition of the Gram-negative bacterial infection, mast cells secrete various types of mediators which either regulate host immune system or directly attack the bacteria. Mast cells can also phagocytize and subsequently display the bacterial antigens on their cell surfaces. Moreover, recent findings have revealed the formation of extra-cellular traps by mast cells. Finally this review will especially focus on recent findings on LPS signaling in mast cells, both the functional outcome and the molecular mechanisms.

Keywords: Ceramide; Gram-negative bacteria; IgE-mediated; LPS; Toll-like receptor; chemokine; cytokine; eicosanoid; genitourinary; reactive oxygen species

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-04-01

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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