Human serum IgE-mediated mast cell degranulation shows poor correlation to allergen-specific IgE content

Allergy. 2003 Oct;58(10):1037-43. doi: 10.1034/j.1398-9995.2003.00251.x.


Background: Although allergen-specific IgE content in serum can be determined immunochemically, little is known about the relationship between this parameter and the strength of the degranulation response upon allergen triggering.

Objectives: Analyse the degranulation capacity of immunochemically defined purified and serum IgE after challenge with anti-IgE or allergen using a rat mast cell line (RBL) transfected with the alpha-chain of the human high-affinity IgE receptor (FcepsilonRI).

Methods: Purified IgE specific for 4-hydroxy-3nitrophenylacetyl, purified IgE of unknown specificity, and sera from allergic patients sensitive to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dactylis glomerata were assessed. Degranulation was measured by a beta-hexosaminidase release assay after anti-IgE or allergen-specific challenge.

Results: For purified monoclonal IgE a significant correlation (r = 0.97) was found between the proportion of bound allergen-specific IgE and the strength of the degranulation response. In contrast, no correlation (r = 0.27) was detected after sensitization with serum IgE.

Conclusion: Our studies demonstrate that mast cell activation mediated through IgE from allergic patients is a result of complex relationships that are not only dependent on allergen-specific IgE content but also relate to the capacity to efficiently sensitize and trigger the signalling responses that lead to degranulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cell Degranulation*
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dactylis / immunology
  • Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus / immunology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / genetics
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Rats
  • Transfection
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / metabolism


  • Allergens
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases