Mast cell activity in the healing wound: more than meets the eye?

Experimental dermatology

PubMedID: 23802591

Wulff BC, Wilgus TA. Mast cell activity in the healing wound: more than meets the eye?. Exp Dermatol. 2013;22(8):507-10.
Mast cells (MCs) are an important part of the innate immune system and are abundant in barrier organs such as the skin. They are known primarily for initiating allergic reactions, but many other biological functions have now been described for these cells. Studies have indicated that during wound repair, MCs enhance acute inflammation, stimulate reepithelialization and angiogenesis, and promote scarring. MCs have also been linked to abnormal healing, with high numbers of MCs observed in chronic wounds, hypertrophic scars and keloids. Although MCs have gained attention in the wound healing field, several unique features of MCs have yet to be examined in the context of cutaneous repair. These include the ability of MCs to: (i) produce anti-inflammatory mediators; (ii) release mediators without degranulating; and (iii) change their phenotype. Recent findings highlight the complexity of MCs and suggest that more information is needed to understand their complete range of activities during repair.