Clinical & Experimental Allergy

Presence of IgG4 on the membrane of human basophils. Histamine release is induced by monoclonal antibodies directed against the Fab but not the Fc region of the IgG4 molecule


Dr L. Jimeno, Alergia e Immunlogía Abelló S.A., C/Miguel Fleta 19, 28037 Madrid, Spain.


We have studied the possible role of human IgG4 as an anaphylactic antibody. For that purpose, we have determined the induction of histamine release (HR) from human basophils by anti-IgE and anti-IgG4 monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs) recognizing different epitopes located at the Fe and Fab regions of the IgG4 molecule. The results show that anti-IgG4 (Fab) MoAb was able to induce HR in 93% of donors tested, with no differences between atopics and non-atopics. That HR is calcium dependent and is accompanied by the synthesis and release of leukotriene C4. In contrast, no HR could be induced by anti-IgG4(Fc) MoAbs in any individual, even in the presence of D2O or after a second challenge with a polyclonal goat anti-mouse IgG antibody. The results obtained suggest the presence of IgG4 on the basophil membrane and that the epitope recognized by the anti-IgG4 (Fc) MoAbs is probably hidden in cell-bound IgG4. This was demonstrated by immunofluorescence techniques: IgG4 bound to the basophil membrane could be detected with anti-IgG4(Fab) but not with anti-IgG4(Fc) MoAbs. In addition, we found that nine donors were unresponsive to an anti-IgE stimulus, while they released histamine efficiently after challenge with anti-IgG4(Fab), suggesting the existence of different receptors for both immunoglobulins.