Mast cells are tissue dwelling cells that have a clear-cut pathologic role in allergy. Besides that, they participate in several chronic inflammatory conditions, helminitic parasitosis, and in some solid tumor reactions, but also in physiological situations, such as wound healing and innate immunity. Mast cells produce and release various mediators after activation induced by either IgE-dependent or IgE-independent mechanisms. Although much information has been gathered on the immunological (IgE-dependent) mast cell activation both in vivo and in vitro, not much is known about the non-immunological (IgE-independent) activation particularly in human mast cells. Mast cell IgE-independent activation is mediated through Gi3alpha which has been identified in rat mast cells as the pertussis toxin (Ptx)-sensitive heterotrimeric G protein that interacts with cationic secretagogues inducing PLC-independent mast cell exocytosis. Mast cell IgE-independent activation in allergy most likely occurs when mast cells encounter eosinophils, the main inflammatory cells that persist throughout the late and chronic phases of the allergic reaction. This review summarizes the influence of eosinophils on mast cell activation demonstrating that IgE-independent activation has a significant role in pathophysiological processes.
- Mast cells