Medical Definition of Mast cell

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Mast cell: A granulocyte found in connective tissue whose normal function is unknown but that is frequently injured during allergic reactions. When a mast cell is injured, it releases strong chemicals, including histamine, into the tissues and blood. These chemicals are very irritating and cause itching, swelling, and fluid leaking from cells. They can also cause muscle spasm, leading to lung and throat tightening (as is found in asthma) and loss of voice.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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