Monomeric IgE stimulates signaling pathways in mast cells that lead to cytokine production and cell survival

Immunity. 2001 Jun;14(6):801-11. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(01)00159-5.


Although IgE binding to mast cells is thought to be a passive presensitization step, we demonstrate herein that monomeric IgE (mIgE) in the absence of antigen (Ag) stimulates multiple phosphorylation events in normal murine bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). While mIgE does not induce degranulation or leukotriene synthesis, it leads to a more potent production of cytokines than IgE + Ag. Moreover, mIgE prevents the apoptosis of cytokine-deprived BMMCs, likely by maintaining Bcl-X(L) levels and producing autocrine-acting cytokines. The addition of Ag does not increase this IgE-induced survival. Since IgE concentrations as low as 0.1 microg/ml enhance BMMC survival, elevated plasma IgE levels in humans with atopic disorders may contribute to the elevated mast cell numbers seen in these individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / pharmacology
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Membrane Microdomains / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Receptors, IgE / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases


  • Cytokines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptors, IgE
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases