Basophil leukocytes and tissue mast cells are inflammatory cells that are found in virtually all human tissues. They appear to be involved in the pathogenesis of such allergic diseases as allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, anaphylaxis, atopic and contact dermatitis, chronic urticaria, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. By releasing a variety of chemical mediators, they could also play a role in the pathophysiology of a wide range of inflammatory disorders of the joints, and of intestine, lung, coronary, and myocardial diseases. Although these two cell types are similar in several aspects, striking differences have also been observed. Moreover, human mast cells from different anatomical sites and within an individual tissue synthesize different mediators and have different release mechanisms. The recent advent of techniques that yield highly purified basophils and mast cells from diverse tissues will probably lead to major advancements in under-standing the biochemical and pharmacological mechanisms that control the release process of these cells. The release of mediators from these cells is also controlled by a series of largely undefined biochemical steps that represent the basis of the concept of basophil and mast cell releasability. Alterations of basophil or mast cell releasability have already been detected in patients with allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, atopic dermatitis, and chronic urticaria. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that basophils, mast cells, and their chemical mediators play a pivotal role in several inflammatory disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine