Mast cell progenitors: Origin, development and migration to tissues

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Mast cells in tissues are developed from mast cell progenitors emerging from the bone marrow in a process highly regulated by transcription factors. Through the advancement of the multicolor flow cytometry technique, the mast cell progenitor population in the mouse has been characterized in terms of surface markers. However, only cell populations with enriched mast cell capability have been described in human. In naïve mice, the peripheral tissues have a constitutive pool of mast cell progenitors. Upon infections in the gut and in allergic inflammation in the lung, the local mast cell progenitor numbers increase tremendously. This review focuses on the origin and development of mast cell progenitors. Furthermore, the evidences for cells and molecules that govern the migration of these cells in mice in vivo are described.

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