Cutting edge: Helminth infection induces IgE in the absence of mu- or delta-chain expression

J Immunol. 2008 Nov 15;181(10):6697-701. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.181.10.6697.


Infections with helminth parasites are associated with an IgE isotype switch and high serum IgE concentrations. IgE is rapidly bound by the high affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilonRI), thereby sensitizing Fc epsilonRI-bearing basophils and mast cells for IgE-inducible effector functions such as IL-4 production. The development of Ab-secreting B cells is dependent on IgM and consequently, muMT mice, which lack surface IgM, are considered devoid of Abs. In this study we report the unexpected finding that C57BL/6 muMT mice generate robust IgE responses upon infection with three distinct helminth parasites, Heligmosomoides polygyrus, Trichuris muris, and Schistosoma mansoni. IgE is produced despite an apparent block in B cell development and licenses basophils for IgE-induced IL-4 production. Our findings reveal the existence of an evolutionarily conserved, IgM-independent pathway for the production of IgE upon infection with helminth parasites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Helminth / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Helminth / blood
  • Antibodies, Helminth / immunology*
  • Antigens, Helminth / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Basophils / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Helminthiasis, Animal / blood
  • Helminthiasis, Animal / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin D / deficiency*
  • Immunoglobulin D / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / biosynthesis
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin M / deficiency*
  • Immunoglobulin M / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin delta-Chains / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin mu-Chains / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains


  • Antibodies, Helminth
  • Antigens, Helminth
  • Immunoglobulin D
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulin delta-Chains
  • Immunoglobulin mu-Chains
  • Immunoglobulin E