We assume that for every organ and every cell there must be a necessary role. The intriguing anatomic position of mast cells implies they may take part in allergies and diffuse diseases. Von Recklinghausen recognized and illustrated the mast cells in 1863. Paul Ehrlich first stained them, then studied them, and finally derived his concepts of chemotherapy from them. Since those days, many learned and many idle theories have multiplied around this connective tissue cell. Attempts have been made to link it to the basophil of the blood. In Selye, the mast cell has found its Boswell.
His work with stress and later with calciphylaxis inevitably led Selye to become intrigued with the mast cell. This book represents his interpretive review of the literature. Its 564 pages probably contain less than 100 pages of text. However, Selye introduces his bibliographic references in a novel way. Each time a reference is