Anaphylaxis: a review of causes and mechanisms

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002 Sep;110(3):341-8. doi: 10.1067/mai.2002.126811.


Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening syndrome resulting from the sudden release of mast cell- and basophil-derived mediators into the circulation. Foods and medications cause most anaphylaxis for which a cause can be identified, but virtually any agent capable of directly or indirectly activating mast cells or basophils can cause this syndrome. This review discusses the pathophysiologic mechanisms of anaphylaxis, its causes, and its treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Anaphylaxis / epidemiology
  • Anaphylaxis / etiology*
  • Anaphylaxis / physiopathology
  • Anaphylaxis / therapy
  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Recurrence
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Epinephrine