Figure 2 MC contribution to MS/EAE development. MS and EAE are very complex autoimmune diseases involving different stages, many cell types, and a plethora of mediators. MCs are envisioned as pivotal players in the immunopathogenesis and thus as potential therapeutic targets in these pathologies. (A) Possible stages in which MCs could contribute to immunopathogenesis. (B) Some of the major immunological mechanisms by which these cells contribute to disease development in each of these main stages are illustrated. BBB: Blood-brain barrier; CNS: central nervous system; EAE: experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; IL-1β: interleukin 1 beta; MCs: mast cells; MMP: matrix metalloproteinase; MS: multiple sclerosis; PMN: polymorphonuclear leukocyte; TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor alpha.