Mast cells are produced by bone marrow and are part of all tissues in the body. They are regulators of the immune system that contain storage sacs that contain active molecules called “mediators.”
When a mast cell is triggered, these mediator molecules are released and trigger inflammation or allergic reactions. When the bone marrow over-produces mast cells, mastocytosis is the result.
Cutaneous (of the skin) mastocytosis is characterized by extreme blistering. It can be so severe, it can become life-threatening because of the danger of the patient having anaphylaxis.
Triggers come from a wide variety of sources including:
- exposure to heat or cold
- insect bites or stings
- physical or emotional stress
A small number of infants are born with a type of cutaneous mastocytosis called “diffuse cutaneous mastocytosis, or DCM.” The onset occurs prior to birth, and it is one of the most extreme of the mast cell diseases.
Sadly, a little boy in California, knows more about DCM than you or I ever will.
Wyatt Catalano, who is all of two years old, has DCM. His parents knew immediately after he was born that Wyatt had a serious health problem. Since then, through all his treatments, and because of their love for their child, Shannon and Steve Catalano have organized various events to raise funds for DCM research and treatments.
This form of cutaneous mastocytosis has been tagged “Wyatt’s Disease.”
The 2016 Wyatt’s Walk raised more than $7,000. If you would like more information about next year’s walk, click here.
For more information about mast cell diseases, contact The Mastocytosis Society.