Human mast cells stimulate activated T cells: Implications for multiple sclerosis

Theoharis C. Theoharides, Duraisamy Kempuraj, Taxiarchis Kourelis, Akrivi Manola

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

40 Scopus citations


Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system mainly mediated by Th1 and/or Th17 cells, which cross the blood-brain barrier. Recent evidence indicates that Th2 cells and mast cells, typically associated with allergic reactions, are also involved. Brain mast cells are critically located perivascularly and secrete numerous proinflammatory and vasoactive molecules that can disrupt the blood-brain barrier, a finding that precedes clinical or pathologic signs of multiple sclerosis. Brain mast cells in multiple sclerosis are activated by neural factors, including substance P, myelin basic protein, and corticotropin-releasing hormone, caused by acute stress, which induce release of several inflammatory mediators. Mast cells can stimulate activated T cells coming in contact with them at the blood-brain barrier, as well as after stimulation with myelin basic protein or substance P. Pretreatment with the flavone luteolin blocks mast cell stimulation and T cell activation, as well as experimental autoimmune encephalitis. Interactions between mast cells and T cells could constitute a new and unique therapeutic target for multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeural Signaling Opportunities for Novel Diagnostic Approaches and Therapies
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781573317047
StatePublished - Nov 2008

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Inflammation
  • Luteolin
  • Mast cells
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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