Mast cell activation disease and the modern epidemic of chronic inflammatory disease

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A large and growing portion of the human population, especially in developed countries, suffers 1 or more chronic, often quite burdensome ailments which either are overtly inflammatory in nature or are suspected to be of inflammatory origin, but for which investigations to date have failed to identify specific causes, let alone unifying mechanisms underlying the multiple such ailments that often afflict such patients. Relatively recently described as a non-neoplastic cousin of the rare hematologic disease mastocytosis, mast cell (MC) activation syndrome—suspected to be of greatly heterogeneous, complex acquired clonality in many cases—is a potential underlying/unifying explanation for a diverse assortment of inflammatory ailments. A brief review of MC biology and how aberrant primary MC activation might lead to such a vast range of illness is presented.

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