Mast cells are activated upon immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated antigen stimulation, and release a wide variety of mediators, including histamine to trigger inflammatory responses. The surface expression levels of Fcε receptor I (FcεRI), a high affinity receptor of IgE, were found to be positively regulated by IgE. IgE could protect murine cultured mast cells from apoptotic cell death induced by the deprivation of interleukin-3 and a certain kind of IgE could activate immature mast cells in the absence of antigens, leading to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a transient increase in histamine synthesis. Histamine synthesis in mast cells was found to be required for the maturation of murine connective tissue-type mast cells, raising the possibility that IgE indirectly modulates local mast cell maturation. Although it remains controversial to what extent this concept of “monomeric IgE effects” could have relevance in the modulation of human mast cell functions, the therapeutic effects of anti-IgE antibodies might be accounted for in terms of the decreased serum IgE concentrations. Because drastic increases in serum IgE concentrations are often observed in patients with atopic dermatitis and chronic urticaria, a close investigation of the roles of IgE in mast cell maturation should contribute to development of novel therapeutic approaches for these inflammatory diseases.
- Mast cell
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