Mast cell-T cell interactions

Yoseph A. Mekori, Dean D. Metcalfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In addition to being a major effector cell in the elicitation of allergic inflammation, mast cells have been found to be activated in various T cell-mediated inflammatory processes and to reside in close physical proximity to T cells. Such observations and the wide spectrum of mediators produced and secreted by mast cells have led investigators to propose a functional relationship between these 2 cell populations. Indeed, mast cell activation has been reported to induce T-cell migration either directly by the release of chemotactic factors, such as lymphotactin or IL-16, or indirectly by the induction of adhesion molecule expression on endothelial cells. Mast cells are also able to present antigens to T cells, resulting in their activation in either an MHC class I- or class II-restricted and costimulatory molecule-dependent fashion. Adhesion molecule-dependent intercellular contact or MHC class II cognate interactions between T cells and mast cells result in the release of both granule-associated mediators and cytokines from the latter. Also, T cell-derived mediators, such as β-chemokines, directly induce mast cell degranulation. On the other hand, mast cell-derived cytokines, such as IL-4, have been found to polarize T cells to preferentially differentiate into the TH2 subset. Thus T cell-mast cell interactions are bidirectional, fulfilling regulatory and/or modulatory roles affecting various aspects of the immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-523
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number3 II
StatePublished - 1999


  • Adhesion
  • Antigen presentation
  • Chemotaxis
  • Cytokines
  • Degranulation
  • Mast cell
  • Migration
  • T cell


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