The role of mast cells in asthma

Published on December 29, 2011   48 min

A selection of talks on Immunology

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I'm Peter Bradding, Professor of Respiratory Medicine, in the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the Institute for Lung Health at the University of Leicester, UK, based at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. In this lecture, I'm going to discuss the role of mast cells in the pathophysiology of asthma.
In this lecture, I will start by giving a little background into basic mast cell biology before looking at the role of mast cells in the pathophysiology of asthma from a historical perspective, and then I will move on to discuss more recent advances.
Mast cells originate in the bone marrow. They are nonspecific mononuclear cells expressing CD34 and CD117 or c-kit, stem cell factor receptor. These mononuclear cells mobilize the peripheral blood through poorly defined mechanisms, and then are recruited to the tissue under the influence of various chemoattractants. There's only one stays mononuclear cells into the tissues that they then differentiate and mature into the typical tissue mast cell. This occurs particularly under the influence of growth factors especially stem cell factor, but also through cell-cell interactions and interactions with tissue matrix.
Mast cells have been implicated in many diverse biological processes. In health, they have been implicated in growth and development, wound healing, and host defense, particularly to bacterial infection. They've also been implicated in many diseases including allergy and asthma; fibrotic diseases such as pulmonary fibrosis and systemic sclerosis; rheumatoid disease, multiple sclerosis, and atherosclerosis, which just highlights a few diverse examples. This slide shows the typical morphology of