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Keywords:

  • autoanti-IgE;
  • hookworm;
  • autoantibody;
  • IgE;
  • IgG subclasses;
  • CD23

SUMMARY

In this study we have demonstrated significantly elevated levels of circulating IgG autoanti-IgE antibody in hookworm infected individuals from Kebasob village on Karkar Island, Papua New Guinea. Although anti-IgE activity was demonstrable in IgG1, IgG3 and IgG4, IgG1 was by far the most important subclass of IgG anti-IgE in terms of frequency of detection (34/39; 87.2%) and magnitude of increase (P = 0.0000); with IgG3 (16/39; 41.0%) and IgG4 (15/39; 38.5%) antibodies being considerably less prevalent. Plasma levels of IgG1 anti-IgE (P = 00019) and IgG3 anti-IgE (P = 0.0034) showed significant correlations with total IgE concentrations, but not with IgE specific to excretory-secretory worm products; thus suggesting that anti-IgE synthesis is more related to polyclonal hyper IgE production than to antigen-specific IgE stimulation. No correlation was seen between IgG subclass anti-IgE levels and faecal egg counts or worm burden. Given that our data failed to show a negative or a positive correlation between anti-IgE and the degree of infection with hookworm, it is tempting to speculate that the main role of autoanti-IgE is to provide the host with protection against immune complex- and IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reactions to parasitic antigens.