High-affinity immunoglobulin E receptor (Fc epsilon RI)-bearing eosinophils, mast cells, macrophages and Langerhans' cells in allergen-induced late-phase cutaneous reactions in atopic subjects

Immunology. 1998 Feb;93(2):281-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.1998.00418.x.


We have used in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry (IHC) to investigate the kinetics of the expression for Fc epsilon RI mRNA (alpha-, beta- and gamma-chains), the alpha-chain protein product, as well as the phenotype of the mRNA- or protein-positive cells in allergen-induced late-phase skin reactions in atopic subjects. Compared with diluent controls, there were significant increases in the total number of mRNA+ cells for the alpha-, beta- and gamma-chains for Fc epsilon RI at all time-points (6, 24 and 48 hr) after allergen challenge (P < 0.01). By double IHC/ISH significant increases in alpha-, beta- and gamma-chain mRNA+ macrophages, eosinophils, mast cells and CD1a+ cells were also observed after allergen challenge (P < 0.05). The distribution of Fc epsilon RI subunit (alpha-, beta-, or gamma-chain) mRNA+ co-localization was CD68+ macrophages (42-47%), EG2+ eosinophils (33-39%), tryptase+ mast cells (5-11%) and CD1a+ Langerhans' cells (2-4%). Using single IHC, significant increases in the total number of Fc epsilon RI protein+ cells (P < 0.01) were observed 24 and 48 hr after allergen challenge. Double IHC showed that the distribution of Fc epsilon RI+ cells was tryptase+ mast cells (33%), CD68+ macrophages (36%), EG2+ eosinophils (20%), CD1a+ Langerhans' cells (4%) and unidentified cells (7%), at the 24-hr allergen-challenged sites. These observations suggest that the cutaneous late-phase reaction in man is associated with up-regulation of Fc epsilon RI on eosinophils, macrophages, mast cells and Langerhans' cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allergens / immunology*
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / immunology
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Immunophenotyping
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Mast Cells / immunology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, IgE / genetics
  • Receptors, IgE / metabolism*


  • Allergens
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, IgE