The development of allergic inflammation
Allergic disorders, such as anaphylaxis, hay fever, eczema and asthma, now afflict roughly 25% of people in the developed world. In allergic subjects, persistent or repetitive exposure to allergens, which typically are intrinsically innocuous substances common in the environment, results in chronic allergic inflammation. This in turn produces long-term changes in the structure of the affected organs and substantial abnormalities in their function. It is therefore important to understand the characteristics and consequences of acute and chronic allergic inflammation, and in particular to explore how mast cells can contribute to several features of this maladaptive pattern of immunological reactivity.