A paper released in September 2012 addressed the effect of iron availability on mast cell degranulation.
Inside the bodies of mice, it was observed that mice with decreased iron stores had more severe inflammatory reactions. Importantly, iron supplementation decreased the severity of the inflammation, particularly in the context of allergic asthma. Increased iron inhibited the production of inflammatory molecules in pulmonary tissues, including various interleukins and interferons.
Outside of the body, mast cells were incubated with and without iron for 30 minutes. IgE was then added to activate the mast cells. The mast cells that were incubated with iron degranulated 30% less than those without iron present. Spontaneous degranulation, without IgE crosslinking, was not affected. The presence of iron also dramatically affected the production of inflammatory molecules by mast cells. Production of TNF, MCP-1 and IL-6 decreased by 94%, 29% and 27%, respectively. MCP-1 attracts macrophages.
Iron supplementation decreased the severity of allergic asthma, and decreased mast cell degranulation by IgE crosslinking 30%, as well as decreasing production of inflammatory molecules by mast cells.
Hale LP, Kant EP, Greer PK, Foster WM (2012) Iron Supplementation Decreases Severity of Allergic Inflammation in Murine Lung. PLoS ONE 7(9): e45667. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045667