Mast Cell Functions

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Mast cells participate in both acute and chronic inflammatory responses. As sentinel cells distributed throughout the body's vascularized tissues, they release a variety of biologically active mediators when an antigen is encountered. The mediators cause smooth muscle cells to dilate, endothelial cells to contract, and spaces between cells increase exudation of plasma and blood cells. Chemotactic recruitment of neutrophils, eosinophils, and lymphocytes can amplify and sustain the inflammatory response even in the absence of continuous allergen exposure.