The role of mast cells after solid organ transplantation
Mast cells are best known as primary responders in allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and asthma. However, recent studies have shown that mast cells are functionally diverse cells with immunoregulatory properties that influence both the innate and adaptive immunities. Mast cells are capable of producing an array of both proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators, acting as antigen-presenting cells, and expressing a spectrum of costimulatory molecules. Moreover, mast cells seem to confer a certain degree of immune privilege to tissues in concert with T-regulatory cells and are essential players in fibrotic conditions. The following review of the literature serves to further define the role of mast cells in the immunologic reactions affecting transplanted solid organ grafts.