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A cutting-edge collection of readily reproducible techniques for the isolation, culture, and study of activation and signaling in human mast cells. These methods take advantage of the latest advances in molecular biology, technology, and information science. They include methods for the identification of mast cells, the development of mast cells in vitro, the study of mast cell signaling and gene expression, and the measurement of mast cell expression of inflammatory mediators. Additional chapters cover methods for studying mast cell interactions with other cell types (endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and B cells), the roles of mast cells in host defense, and mast cell apoptosis.