Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is most commonly a treatment for inborn defects of hematopoiesis or acute leukemias. Widespread use of HSCT, a potentially curative therapy, is hampered by onset of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), classified as either acute or chronic GVHD. While the pathology of acute GVHD is better understood, factors driving GVHD at the cellular and molecular level are less clear. Mast cells are an arm of the immune system that are known for atopic disease. However, studies have demonstrated that they can play important roles in tissue homeostasis and wound healing, and mast cell dysregulation can lead to fibrotic disease. Interestingly, in chronic GVHD, aberrant wound healing mechanisms lead to pathological fibrosis, but the cellular etiology driving this is not well-understood, although some studies have implicated mast cells. Given this novel role, we here review the literature for studies of mast cell involvement in the context of chronic GVHD. While there are few publications on this topic, the papers excellently characterized a niche for mast cells in chronic GVHD. These findings may be extended to other fibrosing diseases in order to better target mast cells or their mediators for treatment of fibrotic disease.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences, v. 22, issue 5, 2385.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)