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J Immunol. 2010 Jul 1;185(1):653-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0901129. Epub 2010 May 26.

Ig-free light chains play a crucial role in murine mast cell-dependent colitis and are associated with human inflammatory bowel diseases.

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Division of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Traditionally, mast cells were regarded as key cells orchestrating type I hypersensitivity responses. However, it is now recognized that mast cells are widely involved in nonallergic (non-IgE) chronic diseases. Also, in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a disease not associated with increased IgE concentrations, clear signs of activation of mast cells have been found. In this study, we investigated if Ig-free L chain-induced hypersensitivity-like responses through activation of mast cells could contribute to the pathophysiology of IBD. As a mast cell-dependent model for IBD, mice were skin-sensitized with dinitrofluorobenzene followed by intrarectal application of the hapten. In this murine IBD model, F991 prevented mast cell activation and also abrogated the development of diarrhea, cellular infiltration, and colonic lymphoid follicle hyperplasia. Furthermore, passive immunization with Ag-specific Ig-free L chains (IgLCs) and subsequent rectal hapten challenge elicited local mast cell activation and increased vascular permeability in the colon of mice. Clinical support is provided by the observation that serum concentrations of IgLCs of patients suffering from Crohn's disease are greatly increased. Moreover, increased presence of IgLCs was evident in tissue specimens from colon and ileum tissue of patients with IBD. Our data suggest that IgLCs may play a role in the pathogenesis of IBD, which provides novel therapeutic means to prevent or ameliorate the adverse gastrointestinal manifestations of IBD.

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