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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Nov;112(5):915-22.

Inhibition of allergen-IgE binding to B cells by IgG antibodies after grass pollen immunotherapy.

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  • 1Upper Respiratory Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, London, United Kingdom.



Among atopic individuals, levels of allergen-specific IgG antibodies have been inversely associated with the degree of allergen sensitization. Additionally, allergen-specific IgG antibodies are markedly increased by allergen injection immunotherapy. These observations have led to proposals that allergen-specific IgG antibodies might have protective properties in atopic individuals.


We hypothesized that after grass pollen immunotherapy, these antibodies disrupt IgE-dependent allergen processing by antigen-presenting cells.


We have developed a novel flow cytometric assay based on detection of allergen-IgE binding to the low-affinity IgE receptor on B cells to examine the blocking effects of sera collected from 18 patients who participated in a double-blind, controlled trial of grass pollen immunotherapy for 1 year.


In all 10 patients who received active therapy, there was induction of activity that inhibited allergen-IgE binding to B cells (P =.02, vs placebo subjects), as well as subsequent allergen presentation to T cells. This activity copurified with IgG and was allergen specific, because sera taken from patients treated with grass pollen immunotherapy but who were also birch pollen sensitive did not inhibit IgE-birch pollen allergen binding to B cells.


We conclude that allergen-specific IgG antibodies induced by immunotherapy can disrupt formation of allergen-IgE complexes that bind to antigen-presenting cells and facilitate allergen presentation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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