IgE knock-in mice suggest a role for high levels of IgE in basophil-mediated active systemic anaphylaxis


Full correspondence: Dr. Philipp Yu, Institut für Immunologie der Philipps-Universität Marburg, Biomedizinisches Forschungszentrum, Hans Meerwein Str. 2, 35043 Marburg, Germany

Fax: +49-6421-28-66813

e-mail: Philipp.Yu@staff.uni-marburg.de


Immunglobulin E (IgE) production is tightly regulated at the cellular and genetic levels and is believed to be central to allergy development. At least two cellular pathways exist that lead to systemic anaphylaxis reactions in vivo: IgE-sensitized mast cells and IgG1-sensitized basophils. Passive anaphylaxis, by application of allergen and allergen-specific antibodies in mice, indicates a differential contribution of immunoglobulin isotypes to anaphylaxis. However, analysis of a dynamic immunization-mediated antibody response in anaphylaxis is difficult. Here, we generated IgE knock-in mice (IgEki), which express the IgE heavy chain instead of IgG1, in order to analyze the contribution of IgG1 and IgE to active anaphylaxis in vivo. IgEki mice display increased IgE production both in vitro and in vivo. The sensitization of IgEki mice by immunization followed by antigen challenge leads to increased anaphylaxis. Homozygous IgEki mice, which lack IgG1 due to the knock-in strategy, are most susceptible to active systemic anaphylaxis. The depletion of basophils demonstrates their importance in IgE-mediated anaphylaxis. Therefore, we propose that an enhanced, antigen-specific, polyclonal IgE response, as is the case in allergic patients, is probably the most efficient way to sensitize basophils to contribute to systemic anaphylaxis in vivo.