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J Immunol. 2000 Mar 1;164(5):2667-73.

Role for IgE in airway secretions: IgE immune complexes are more potent inducers than antigen alone of airway inflammation in a murine model.

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  • 1Division of Allergy, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, San Diego, CA 92121, USA. riaz_zuberi@liai.org


IgE is present in airway secretions from human patients with allergic rhinitis and bronchial asthma. However, the contribution of IgE present locally to the overall airway inflammation is not well understood. We hypothesize that Ag-specific IgE can capture airborne Ags and form immune complexes. These immune complexes may function as potent inducers of immune responses in the lung, contributing to the perpetuation of airway inflammation. BALB/c mice were first sensitized with OVA in alum systemically and then challenged with nebulized OVA. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from these mice contained significant amounts of IgE, of which >50% was Ag specific. The IgE levels in airway secretions remained elevated for more than 15 days after the termination of Ag exposure. Significant amounts of IgE-OVA immune complexes were detected in BAL fluid from the OVA-challenged mice. For comparison of IgE immune complexes vs Ag alone, we treated OVA-immunized mice with intranasal administration of trinitrophenyl-OVA or trinitrophenyl-OVA-anti-DNP IgE. Those treated with the immune complexes showed significantly higher levels of IL-4 and more pronounced eosinophilia in BAL fluid than did those receiving the Ag alone. The IgE immune complexes did not augment the inflammatory response in high affinity IgE receptor (FcepsilonRI)-deficient mice. We conclude that IgE present in the airways can capture the Ag and that the immune complexes thus formed may augment allergic airway response in an FcepsilonRI-dependent manner. Thus, IgE present in airway secretions may facilitate Ag-mediated allergic airway inflammation.

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