Antigen-mediated mast cell activation, with subsequent mediator release, is a major initiator of the inflammatory allergic response associated with such conditions as asthma. A comprehensive understanding of the principles involved in this process therefore is key to the development of novel therapies for the treatment of these disease states. In vitro models of mast cell function have allowed significant progress to be made in the recognition of the fundamental principles of mast cell activation via the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcvarepsilonRI) and, more recently, other receptors expressed on mast cells. In addition to human mast cells, the major cell culture systems employed to investigate these responses are rat and mouse peritoneal mast cells, mouse bone-marrow-derived mast cells, the rat basophilic leukemia cell line RBL-2H3, and the mouse MC/9 mast cell line. In this unit, we describe the protocols used for the isolation and/or culture of these cells and discuss the relative merits of their use.
Current Protocols in Immunology, 2006, Vol Chapter 3