Bidirectional mast cell-eosinophil interactions in inflammatory disorders and cancer

Maria Rosaria Galdiero, Gilda Varricchi, Mansour Seaf, Giancarlo Marone, Francesca Levi-Schaffer*, Gianni Marone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Human mast cells (MCs) and eosinophils were first described and named by Paul Ehrlich. These cells have distinct myeloid progenitors and differ morphologically, ultrastructurally, immunologically, biochemically, and pharmacologically. However, MCs and eosinophils play a pivotal role in several allergic disorders. In addition, these cells are involved in autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. MCs are distributed throughout all normal human tissues, whereas eosinophils are present only in gastrointestinal tract, secondary lymphoid tissues, and adipose tissue, thymus, mammary gland, and uterus. However, in allergic disorders, MCs and eosinophils can form the "allergic effector unit." Moreover, in several tumors, MCs and eosinophils can be found in close proximity. Therefore, it is likely that MCs have the capacity to modulate eosinophil functions and vice versa. For example, interleukin 5, stem cell factor, histamine, platelet-activating factor (PAF), prostaglandin D 2 (PGD 2 ), cysteinyl leukotrienes, and vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), produced by activated MCs, can modulate eosinophil functions through the engagement of specific receptors. In contrast, eosinophil cationic proteins such as eosinophil cationic protein and major basic protein (MBP), nerve growth factor, and VEGFs released by activated eosinophils can modulate MC functions. These bidirectional interactions between MCs and eosinophils might be relevant not only in allergic diseases but also in several inflammatory and neoplastic disorders.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103
JournalFrontiers in Medicine
Issue numberJUL
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Galdiero, Varricchi, Seaf, Marone, Levi-Schaffer and Marone.


  • Allergy
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Eosinophils
  • Inflammation
  • Mast cells
  • Mastocytosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Bidirectional mast cell-eosinophil interactions in inflammatory disorders and cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this