Lipid droplets in activated mast cells - a significant source of triglyceride-derived arachidonic ac
Mast cells are potent effectors of immune reactions and key players in various inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis. The cellular defense response of mast cells represents a unique and powerful system, where external signals can trigger cell activation resulting in a stimulus-specific and highly coordinated release of a plethora of bioactive mediators. The arsenal of mediators encompasses preformed molecules stored in cytoplasmic secretory granules, as well as newly synthesized proteinaceous and lipid mediators. The release of mediators occurs in strict chronological order and requires proper coordination between the endomembrane system and various enzymatic machineries. For the generation of lipid mediators, cytoplasmic lipid droplets have been shown to function as a major intracellular pool of arachidonic acid, the precursor for eicosanoid biosynthesis. Recent studies have revealed that not only phospholipids in mast cell membranes, but also triglycerides in mast cell lipid droplets are a substrate source for eicosanoid formation. The present review summarizes current knowledge about mast cell lipid droplet biology, and discusses expansions and challenges of traditional mechanistic models for eicosanoid production.