Immunoglobulin E (IgE) plays a critical role in the allergic inflammatory process in diseases such as allergic rhinitis. Cross-linking IgE bound to its receptor on cells by multivalent allergens initiates a chain of events resulting in allergic immune responses. Mast cells and basophils are involved in the early, immediate response, which is marked by cellular degranulation and the release of proinflammatory mediators, including histamine. Antigen-presenting cells are also activated by allergen-loaded IgE, resulting in immunomodulation of T-cell responses. The IgE molecule binds to two types of receptors, the high-affinity (Fc epsilonRI) and low-affinity (Fc epsilonRII or CD23) receptors, that have differing properties important in mediating allergen-induced responses. New therapies targeting the IgE molecule reduce allergen-stimulated immune responses and improve the clinical symptoms in subjects with allergic rhinitis. Understanding the role of the IgE molecule is necessary to appreciate the development and use of novel therapies targeting its actions.