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J Immunol. 2005 Apr 15;174(8):5024-32.

Allergen drives class switching to IgE in the nasal mucosa in allergic rhinitis.

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The Randall Division, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.


IgE-expressing B cells are over 1000 times more frequent in the nasal B cell than the peripheral blood B cell population. We have investigated the provenance of these B cells in the nasal mucosa in allergic rhinitis. It is generally accepted that expression of activation-induced cytidine deaminase and class switch recombination (CSR) occur in lymphoid tissue, implying that IgE-committed B cells must migrate through the circulation to the nasal mucosa. Our detection of mRNA for activation-induced cytidine, multiple germline gene transcripts, and epsilon circle transcripts in the nasal mucosa of allergic, in contrast to nonallergic control subjects, however, indicates that local CSR occurs in allergic rhinitis. The germline gene transcripts and epsilon circle transcripts in grass pollen-allergic subjects are up-regulated during the season and also when biopsies from allergic subjects are incubated with the allergen ex vivo. These results demonstrate that allergen stimulates local CSR to IgE, revealing a potential target for topical therapies in allergic rhinitis.

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