IgE and IgG antibody response to purified bee-venom antigens and peptides in four patients who had adverse reactions to immunotherapy

Authors

  • D. M. KEMENY,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medicine, United Medical and Dental Schools, Guy's Hospital, London
      Dr D. M. Kemeny, Department of Medicine, 4th Floor, Hunt's House, United Medical and Dental Schools, St Thomas's Street, London SE1 9RT, U.K.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • A. KAGEY-SOBOTKA,

    1. Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • L. M. LICHTENSTEIN,

    1. Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Johns Hopkins University, Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • M. H. LESSOF

    1. Department of Medicine, United Medical and Dental Schools, Guy's Hospital, London
    Search for more papers by this author

Dr D. M. Kemeny, Department of Medicine, 4th Floor, Hunt's House, United Medical and Dental Schools, St Thomas's Street, London SE1 9RT, U.K.

Summary

The immunological response to individual bee-venom allergens was studied in blood samples collected at frequent intervals from four bee-venom allergic patients who had suffered systemic allergic reactions to injections of bee venom during immunotherapy. All had high IgE antibody levels, at the upper end of the range found in bee-sting allergic patients, and all had antibodies to the minor allergens at the time of the reactions. These did not, however, provide a simple explanation for the reactions that occurred. We were able to observe two interesting phenomena — in one patient IgE antibodies to the individual venom antigens appeared to be ‘switched off’ sequentially. In another, IgE antibodies to hyaluronidase rose substantially after 4 years of therapy. We believe that these results provide evidence to support the view that the regulation of IgE antibodies is controlled by mechanisms that are both isotype- and antigen-specific.

Ancillary