|a type of granular basophil cell in connective tissue that releases heparin, histamine, and serotonin during inflammation and allergic reactions|
|[C19: from |
|mast cell (māst) Pronunciation Key
A granular cell found in body tissue, especially connective tissue, that activates inflammation by releasing a variety of chemical substances including histamine, tumor necrosis factor, and interleukins. Mast cells have membrane receptors that bind to bacteria, triggering the release of inflammatory mediators from the mast cell's cytoplasmic granules. Mast cells also play an important role in allergic reactions. Other receptors on their membranes bind to specific antibodies that, combined with certain antigens, initiate granular release of chemical mediators that cause allergic signs and symptoms.