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2288 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 19/4/2021)


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mast cell

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The mast cell is a fixed connective tissue cell that resembles the circulating blood basophil. The cytoplasm is almost entirely filled with large granules which take up basic dyes.

The granules contain a number of active substances:

  • histamine: increases vasodilatation and capillary permeability
  • heparin: anticoagulant
  • tryptase: activates complement
  • platelet activating factor: stimulates platelet degranulation
  • eosinophil / neutrophil chemotactic factors: stimulate chemotaxis of both cell types

In addition, mast cells can sythesize arachidonic acid derivatives. They are involved in atopy, type I hypersensitivity and anaphylaxis.

Last reviewed 01/2018

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