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Immunology. 1993 Apr;78(4):635-42.

Induction of an auto-anti-IgE response in rats. IV. Effects on mast cell degranulation.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Structural Biology, University of Manchester Medical School, U.K.


Induction of an auto-anti-IgE (auto-aIgE) response in the rat inhibits both total and specific IgE production and alters the distribution of mast cell (MC) subpopulations identified by differential Alcian blue/safranin staining. We have extended these observations by characterizing the auto-aIgE antibodies and determining their effects on MC degranulation in vitro and in vivo. An auto-aIgE response was induced in bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-primed rats by injecting a conjugate of highly purified rat IgE myeloma (IR2) coupled to tuberculin-derived purified protein derivative (PPD). Anti-IgE autoantibodies were almost exclusively IgG2a. The intradermal injection of auto-aIgE into untreated rats induced local MC degranulation as shown by a strong immediate skin response. Histologically there was evidence of significant degranulation of safranin staining connective tissue MC (SMC) in the skin but not of the Alcian blue staining MC (ABMC) in the sub-epidermal region. The induced degranulation was epsilon-chain specific; immunopurified anti-idiotypic antibodies raised to the IgE IR2 myeloma had no MC degranulating activity. When administered locally, auto-aIgE inhibited a subsequent passive cutaneous anaphylaxis (PCA) response elicited by anti-ovalbumin IgE. In addition, the PCA response was significantly decreased in animals with an ongoing auto-aIgE response. Immunopurified auto-aIgE also induced histamine release in vitro from rat peritoneal MC. These results are discussed in the context of naturally occurring autoantibodies to IgE present in patients with allergic disease.

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