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Immunity. 2001 Jun;14(6):801-11.

Monomeric IgE stimulates signaling pathways in mast cells that lead to cytokine production and cell survival.

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The Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency, 601 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1L3, Canada.


Although IgE binding to mast cells is thought to be a passive presensitization step, we demonstrate herein that monomeric IgE (mIgE) in the absence of antigen (Ag) stimulates multiple phosphorylation events in normal murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). While mIgE does not induce degranulation or leukotriene synthesis, it leads to a more potent production of cytokines than IgE + Ag. Moreover, mIgE prevents the apoptosis of cytokine-deprived BMMCs, likely by maintaining Bcl-X(L) levels and producing autocrine-acting cytokines. The addition of Ag does not increase this IgE-induced survival. Since IgE concentrations as low as 0.1 microg/ml enhance BMMC survival, elevated plasma IgE levels in humans with atopic disorders may contribute to the elevated mast cell numbers seen in these individuals.

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