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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 9235080, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9235080
Review Article

Mast Cells: Key Players in the Shadow in Oral Inflammation and in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity

1Department of Microscopic Morphology/Histology, Angiogenesis Research Center Timisoara, “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania
2Department of Periodontology, “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania
3Department of Technology of Materials and Devices in Dental Medicine, “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania
4Department of Preventive Dental Medicine, “Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Romania

Received 16 August 2016; Accepted 27 September 2016

Academic Editor: Luís Monteiro

Copyright © 2016 Pusa Nela Gaje et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Although mast cells (MCs) have been discovered over 130 years ago, their function was almost exclusively linked to allergic affections. At the time being, it is well known that MCs possess a great variety of roles, in both physiologic and pathologic conditions. In the oral tissues, MCs release different proinflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), that promote leukocyte infiltration in various inflammatory states of the oral cavity. These cells play a key role in the inflammatory process and, as a consequence, their number changes in different pathologic conditions of the oral cavity, like gingivitis, periodontitis, and so on. MCs also represent a rich source of proteases, especially of mast cell tryptase and chymase, which directly degrade the extracellular matrix through their proteolytic activity and thus indirectly stimulate angiogenesis and facilitate invasion and metastasis. It may be stated that mast cells could have an impact on primary tumor development, progression, and metastases in oral squamous cell carcinoma. By understanding the role of mast cells in the pathogenesis of different inflammatory and tumor diseases of the oral cavity, these cells may become therapeutic targets that could possibly improve the prognosis and survival of these patients.