Enhanced expression of high-affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilon RI) alpha chain in human allergen-induced rhinitis with co-localization to mast cells, macrophages, eosinophils, and dendritic cells

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Jul;100(1):78-86. doi: 10.1016/s0091-6749(97)70198-2.


Background: IgE-dependent activation of mast cells and basophils through the high-affinity IgE receptor (Fc epsilon RI) is involved in the pathogenesis of allergen-induced immediate and late responses.

Objective: We investigated the expression and cellular distribution of Fc epsilon RI in the nasal mucosa after allergen challenge in patients with summer hay fever.

Methods: Fourteen grass pollen-sensitive patients and seven normal control subjects underwent nasal challenge with grass pollen and allergen diluent in random order separated by 2 weeks. Nasal airway caliber was monitored by acoustic rhinometry, and nasal biopsy was performed at 6 hours. Messenger RNA for Fc epsilon RI was determined by using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, and Fc epsilon RI protein expression was determined by immunohistology with a mouse monoclonal antibody (22E7) and a rabbit polyclonal antibody (997) directed against the alpha subunit. Co-localization of Fc epsilon RI receptors was performed by using double-immunostaining methods.

Results: In atopic subjects, there was a significant early decrease in nasal airway caliber, which extended up to 6 hours after allergen challenge. Fc epsilon RI mRNA levels were elevated at 6 hours (p = 0.03). Cells expressing Fc epsilon RI protein were increased in patients with atopic rhinitis compared with normal control subjects (p = 0.03). Further increases in Fc epsilon RI+ cells were observed after allergen challenge only in the atopic group (p = 0.02). Double immunohistochemistry revealed that the majority of Fc epsilon RI+ cells were mast cells (64%), followed by macrophages (20%), eosinophils (4%), and dendritic cells (2%), with 10% Fc epsilon RI+ cells being unidentified.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate increased Fc epsilon RI expression during allergen-induced rhinitis and highlight a potential target for treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / pharmacology*
  • Antibody Affinity*
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Eosinophils / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, IgE / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, IgE / genetics
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / etiology
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / immunology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / metabolism


  • Allergens
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, IgE