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Vet Res. 2006 Nov-Dec;37(6):813-25. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

IgE and IgG antibodies in skin allergy of the horse.

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Baker Institute for Animal Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


In horses, allergies have been characterized by clinical signs and/or intradermal (i.d.) allergen testing. Our aim was to find the first direct evidence that immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediates equine allergy. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that immediate skin reactions in horses can also be mediated by IgG. Anti-IgE affinity columns were used to purify IgE from serum of one healthy horse and three horses affected with summer eczema, an allergic dermatitis which is believed to be induced by Culicoides midges. A modified Prausnitz-K├╝stner experiment was performed in four clinical healthy horses by i.d. injection of the purified serum IgE antibodies. The following day, Culicoides allergen was injected at the same sites. Skin reactions were not observed in response to allergen alone, and in two horses after stimulation at any previous IgE injection site. However, the other two horses showed an immediate skin reaction at the previous injection sites of IgE obtained from allergic horses. In addition, purified monoclonal antibodies to various equine immunoglobulin isotypes were injected i.d. into six healthy horses. Immediate skin reactions were observed in response to anti-IgE (6/6 horses) and anti-IgG(T) injections (5/6 horses). The specificities of both antibodies for IgE and IgG(T), respectively, were confirmed by enzyme linked immunosorbent assays. The results provide the first direct evidence that IgE mediates classical Type-I allergy in horses and plays a major role in the pathogenesis of summer eczema. The data also suggest that IgG(T) can bind to skin mast cells and might contribute to clinical allergy.

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