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Mast Cell Disease

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The mast cell, equipped with enzymes, chemotactic factors, a vasoactive amine, an anticoagulant, and lipid-derived proinflammatory products, may be essential in tissue modeling as well as in defense. Its primarily perivascular location in skin and the mucosa of the respiratory tract and the gut assures its availability to counter parasites. By the same token, the mast cell is responsible for interactions with inhaled, ingested, and injected antigens that comprise IgE-mediated allergic reactions. Abnormally high numbers of mast cells in the skin, either localized or generalized, result in urticaria pigmentosa or generalized cutaneous mastocytosis, respectively. Tissue infiltration by excessive mast cells, primarily in gut, bone, liver, and spleen, results in systemic mastocytosis; this may he accompanied by myelodysplasia or lymphoma and may eventuate in mast cell leukemia. Until the etiology of mastocytosis is understood, the treatment is symptomatic: histamine antagonism by H1 ± H2 blockade for flushing, itching, and gastric distress; cyclooxygenase inhibition to prevent prostaglandin D2 (PGD2)-induced hypotension when indicated; and oral cromolyn to prevent gastrointestinal symptoms and bone pain.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 1992

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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