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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Other Names for this Disease
  • Mast cell disease
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Your Question

Is mastocytosis contagious?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Is mastocytosis contagious?

No, mastocytosis is not contagious.[1]
Last updated: 5/15/2013

What causes mastocytosis?

Mastocytosis  is caused by the presence of too many mast cells in the body. Mast cells, which can be found in skin, lymph nodes, internal organs (such as the liver and spleen) and the linings of the lung, stomach, and intestine, play an important role in helping the immune system defend these tissues from disease. Mast cells attract other key players of the immune defense system to areas of the body where they are needed by releasing chemical “alarms” such as histamine and cytokines.[2]

In some cases, mastocytosis is inherited. These cases result from a genetic mutation which causes the over-activation of the receptor for mast cell growth factor (c-kit). This mutation is believed to cause the abnormal accumulation of mast cells in certain tissues.[3]  These mutations in the c-kit proto-oncogene are passed down through families in an autosomal dominant fashion.[4] 

Last updated: 5/15/2013