Role of IgE in autoimmunity Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • There is accumulating evidence to suggest that IgE plays a significant role in autoimmunity. The presence of circulating self-reactive IgE in patients with autoimmune disorders has been long known but, at the same time, largely understudied. However, studies have shown that the increased IgE concentration is not associated with higher prevalence for atopy and allergy in patients with autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus. IgE-mediated mechanisms are conventionally known to facilitate degranulation of mast cells and basophils and promote TH2 immunity, mechanisms that are not only central to mounting an appropriate defense against parasitic worms, noxious substances, toxins, venoms, and environmental irritants but that also trigger exuberant allergic reactions in patients with allergies. More recently, IgE autoantibodies have been recognized to participate in the self-inflicted damaging immune responses that characterize autoimmunity. Such autoimmune responses include direct damage on tissue-containing autoantigens, activation and migration of basophils to lymph nodes, and, as observed most recently, induction of type 1 interferon responses from plasmacytoid dendritic cells. The importance of IgE as a central pathogenic mechanism in autoimmunity has now been clinically validated by the approval of omalizumab, an anti-IgE mAb, for patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria and for the clinical benefit of patients with bullous pemphigoid. In this review we summarize recent reports describing the prevalence of self-reactive IgE and discuss novel findings that incriminate IgE as central in the pathogenesis of inflammatory autoimmune disorders.

publication date

  • June 2016