The development of methods for primary mast cells in vitro and ex vivo: An historical review

Tianyu Yu, Zhigang He, Muqing Yang, Jian Song, Cheng Ma, Sunqiang Ma, Junlan Feng, Bin Liu, Xiaodong Wang, Zhubo Wei, Jiyu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mast cells (MCs) are tissue-based stationary effector cells that form the immune system's first-line defense against various challenges. They are developed from the bone marrow-derived progenitors to complete their differentiation and maturation in the tissues where they eventually establish residence. MCs have been implicated in many diseases, such as allergy, parasitic infection, and neoplastic disorders. Immortalized MC lines, such as RBL-2H3, HMC-1, and LAD-2, are useful for investigating the biological functions of MC only to some extents due to the restriction of degranulation evaluation, in vivo injection and other factors. Over the past few decades, technologies for acquiring primarily MCs have been continually optimized, and novel protocols have been proposed. However, no relevant publications have analyzed and summarized these techniques. In this review, the classical approaches for extracting MCs are generalized, and new methods with potential values are introduced. We also evaluate the advantages and applicability of diverse MC models. Since MCs exhibit substantial plasticity and functional diversity due to different origins, it is both necessary and urgent to select a reliable and suitable source of MCs for a particular study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018


  • Bone marrow
  • Cord blood
  • IL-3
  • In vitro culture
  • Mast cell
  • SCF
  • iPS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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