Bronchial mucosal mast cells and their implications in the pathogenesis of asthma

S. T. Holgate, C. Hardy, P. H. Howarth, C. Robinson, M. K. Church, R. M. Agius

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    With the demonstration that mast cells are the predominant tissue cell responsible for the immediate or Type I hypersensitivity reaction, it has been widely accepted that this cell is also involved in the pathogenesis of bronchoconstriction of allergic asthma. The basis on which this premise has been made stems from the finding that in atopic subjects, bronchial provocation with allergen produces an immediate form of bronchoconstriction that is similar in time course to the Type I hypersensitivity reaction. Not infrequently this is followed by a delayed and more sustained bronchoconstriction that peaks 4-6 hours after challenge and is referred to as the late reaction. Both the immediate and the late reactions are inhibited by the putative mast cell stabilizing drug sodium cromoglycate if inhaled prior to all allergen provocation. While these observations provide circumstantial evidence of a role for mast cells in allergic asthma they do little to explain the contribution of mast cells to clinical asthma. It is the purpose of this article to discuss some of the recent advances which incriminate mast cell mediator release in the pathogenesis of asthma and its modulation by pharmacological agents.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)39-47
    Number of pages8
    JournalClinical Respiratory Physiology
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1986


    • Animals
    • Asthma/*etiology/pathology/physiopathology
    • Bronchi/cytology/metabolism/*physiology
    • Humans
    • Irrigation
    • Lung/cytology/physiology
    • Mast Cells/classification/metabolism/*physiology
    • Mucous Membrane/cytology/metabolism/physiology
    • Pulmonary Alveoli/cytology/metabolism


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