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Concept: Immunoglobulin E


To the Editor: Changing patterns of allergic sensitization to pollens have been noted around the world among schoolchildren. We report one associated with unusual winter allergic symptoms in Switzerland. Our group has gathered information on allergic symptoms and serologic findings among 15-year-olds attending school in Grabs, a village in eastern Switzerland,(1) from 1983 through 2007.(2) We measured IgE antibodies to 103 molecular allergens (using ImmunoCAP ISAC) in serum samples obtained from 54 students in 1986 and from 46 students in 2006.(3) In 2010, we retested 12 of the former students (then 39 years old) who in 1986 had had positive . . .

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Asthma, Immunology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Ragweed, October 12


Wheat-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (WDEIA) is a specific form of wheat allergy typically induced by exercise after ingestion of wheat products. Wheat ω-5 gliadin is a major allergen associated with conventional WDEIA, and detection of serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) specific to recombinant ω-5 gliadin is a reliable method for its diagnosis. Recently, an increased incidence of a new subtype of WDEIA, which is likely to be sensitized via a percutaneous and/or rhinoconjunctival route to hydrolyzed wheat protein (HWP), has been observed. All of the patients with this new subtype had used the same brand of soap, which contained HWP. Approximately half of these patients developed contact allergy several months later and subsequently developed WDEIA. In each of these patients, contact allergy with soap exposure preceded food ingestion-induced reactions. Other patients directly developed generalized symptoms upon ingestion of wheat products. The predominant observed symptom of the new WDEIA subtype was angioedema of the eyelids; a number of patients developed anaphylaxis. This new subtype of WDEIA has little serum ω-5 gliadin-specific serum IgE.

Concepts: Immune system, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Wheat, Allergology


Recent studies have shown that zinc ion (Zn) can behave as an intracellular signaling molecule. We previously demonstrated that mast cells stimulated through the high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) rapidly release intracellular Zn from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and we named this phenomenon the “Zn wave”. However, the molecules responsible for releasing Zn and the roles of the Zn wave were elusive. Here we identified the pore-forming α(1) subunit of the Cav1.3 (α(1D)) L-type calcium channel (LTCC) as the gatekeeper for the Zn wave. LTCC antagonists inhibited the Zn wave, and an agonist was sufficient to induce it. Notably, α(1D) was mainly localized to the ER rather than the plasma membrane in mast cells, and the Zn wave was impaired by α(1D) knockdown. We further found that the LTCC-mediated Zn wave positively controlled cytokine gene induction by enhancing the DNA-binding activity of NF-κB. Consistent with this finding, LTCC antagonists inhibited the cytokine-mediated delayed-type allergic reaction in mice without affecting the immediate-type allergic reaction. These findings indicated that the LTCC α(1D) subunit located on the ER membrane has a novel function as a gatekeeper for the Zn wave, which is involved in regulating NF-κB signaling and the delayed-type allergic reaction.

Concepts: Immune system, Signal transduction, Asthma, Cell membrane, Cell biology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell


Crosslinking of immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE) bound at the surface of mast cells and subsequent mediator release is considered the most important trigger for allergic reactions. Therefore, the genetic control of IgE levels is studied in the context of allergic diseases, such as asthma, atopic rhinitis, or atopic dermatitis (AD). We performed genome-wide association studies in 161 Labrador Retrievers with regard to total and allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. We identified a genome-wide significant association on CFA 5 with the antigen-specific IgE responsiveness to Acarus siro. We detected a second genome-wide significant association with respect to the antigen-specific IgE responsiveness to Tyrophagus putrescentiae at a different locus on chromosome 5. A. siro and T. putrescentiae both belong to the family Acaridae and represent so-called storage or forage mites. These forage mites are discussed as major allergen sources in canine AD. No obvious candidate gene for the regulation of IgE levels is located under the two association signals. Therefore our studies offer a chance of identifying a novel mechanism controlling the host’s IgE response.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Atopy


Mast cell-derived mediators mediate several of the pathological features of asthma. Microbial infections induce asthma exacerbations in which the contribution of mast cells remains incomprehensible.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Asthma, Cell biology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Mast cell, Leukotriene


Food allergy has increased dramatically in prevalence over the past decade in westernized countries, and is now a major public health problem. Unfortunately for patients with food allergy, there is no effective therapy beyond food allergen avoidance, and rapid medical treatment for accidental exposures. Recently, oral immunotherapy (OIT) has been investigated as a treatment for this problem. In this review, we will discuss the progress in developing OIT for food allergy, including a novel approach utilizing Xolair (anti-IgE monoclonal antibody, omalizumab) in combination with OIT. This combination may enhance both the safety and efficacy of oral immunotherapy, and could lead to a widely available and safe therapy for food allergy.

Concepts: Immune system, Medicine, Asthma, Monoclonal antibodies, Immunology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Food allergy


Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD) tend to have greatly elevated levels of serum immunoglobulin E (IgE). However, the role of IgE in the pathogenesis of AD is debated. This investigator-initiated open-label pilot study evaluates an anti-IgE-treatment approach by combining extracorporeal immunoadsorption and anti-IgE antibody omalizumab in 10 patients with severe, therapy-refractory AD. IgE levels decreased after immunoadsorption and decreased continuously in all patients during anti-IgE therapy. The reverse trend was observed during follow-up without treatment. In parallel with these observations, an improvement in AD was observed during the treatment period, with aggravation during follow-up. Further research is needed, based on the principle of reducing IgE levels in order to improve clinical symptoms, using a combination anti-IgE treatment approach, adjusted according to IgE levels.

Concepts: Immune system, Glycoproteins, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Omalizumab, Atopic dermatitis


Background The Amish and Hutterites are U.S. agricultural populations whose lifestyles are remarkably similar in many respects but whose farming practices, in particular, are distinct; the former follow traditional farming practices whereas the latter use industrialized farming practices. The populations also show striking disparities in the prevalence of asthma, and little is known about the immune responses underlying these disparities. Methods We studied environmental exposures, genetic ancestry, and immune profiles among 60 Amish and Hutterite children, measuring levels of allergens and endotoxins and assessing the microbiome composition of indoor dust samples. Whole blood was collected to measure serum IgE levels, cytokine responses, and gene expression, and peripheral-blood leukocytes were phenotyped with flow cytometry. The effects of dust extracts obtained from Amish and Hutterite homes on immune and airway responses were assessed in a murine model of experimental allergic asthma. Results Despite the similar genetic ancestries and lifestyles of Amish and Hutterite children, the prevalence of asthma and allergic sensitization was 4 and 6 times as low in the Amish, whereas median endotoxin levels in Amish house dust was 6.8 times as high. Differences in microbial composition were also observed in dust samples from Amish and Hutterite homes. Profound differences in the proportions, phenotypes, and functions of innate immune cells were also found between the two groups of children. In a mouse model of experimental allergic asthma, the intranasal instillation of dust extracts from Amish but not Hutterite homes significantly inhibited airway hyperreactivity and eosinophilia. These protective effects were abrogated in mice that were deficient in MyD88 and Trif, molecules that are critical in innate immune signaling. Conclusions The results of our studies in humans and mice indicate that the Amish environment provides protection against asthma by engaging and shaping the innate immune response. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Asthma, Innate immune system, Immunology, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy, Immunity


Low circulating vitamin D levels have been associated with risk of asthma, atopic dermatitis, and elevated total immunoglobulin E (IgE). These epidemiological associations, if true, would have public health importance, since vitamin D insufficiency is common and correctable.

Concepts: Immune system, Vitamin D, Public health, Epidemiology, Asthma, Hypersensitivity, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy


Specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs) promote the resolution of inflammation and exert beneficial effects in animal models of chronic inflammatory diseases, including asthma. Previously, we have shown that certain SPMs reduce IgE production in B cells from healthy individuals, which has a critical role in allergic asthma. Here, we investigated the effects of SPMs on B cell IgE production in asthma patients. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from asthma patients were treated with 17-HDHA or RvD1, and IgE levels were measured. RvD1 and 17-HDHA dampened IgE production in B cells from most asthma patients, whereas B cells from a subset of patients taking oral steroids were refractory to SPM treatment. Molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction between corticosteroids and SPMs were investigated by treating B cells from nonasthmatic donors with corticosteroids in vitro. Corticosteroids blocked the inhibitory effects of 17-HDHA and RvD1 on B cell IgE production by abolishing the suppressive activity of these mediators on IgE class switching. Corticosteroids decreased the expression of transcriptional repressor Bcl-6 as well as its suppressive activity on epsilon germline transcription. We conclude that 17-HDHA and RvD1 can reduce IgE production in asthma patients not taking high doses of steroids but that corticosteroids interfere with the ability of B cells to respond to proresolving mediators.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Protein, Gene expression, Enzyme, Asthma, Immunoglobulin E, Allergy