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World Allergy Organization
WAO's mission: To be a global resource and advocate in the field of allergy, advancing excellence in clinical care through education, research and training as a world-wide alliance of allergy and clinical immunology societies.

IgE and IgE Receptors in ‘Allergic’ Skin Diseases

The Role of the IgE Receptor in Chronic Autoimmune Urticaria

Malcolm W Greaves
St Thomas' Hospital
London, United Kingdom


In 1993 we demonstrated that serum of a subset of patients with chronic "idiopathic" urticaria (CIU) contained IgG autoantibodies directed against the α - chain of FcεR1, or, less commonly, against IgE. These antibodies are functional, for example releasing histamine from basophils and dermal mast cells in vitro and causing whealing upon intradermal injection in vivo. Subsequently these results have, in essence, been reproduced by many investigators worldwide. Furthermore, removal or suppression of these antibodies by means of immunomodulatory therapies has been shown to bring about relief of symptoms, sometimes sustained, in selected patients with recalcitrant disease.

However a number of problems remain unsolved:

There seems no doubt that hives are caused by autoantibodies against the high affinity IgE receptor in some patients with CIU. However the search for additional pathomechanisms in other patients must continue.

Slide presentation

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