Progress in protein chemistry in the 1950s revealed that the biologic activities of proteins, such as hemoglobin and enzymes, are based on partial structures in the protein molecules. This principle suggested to us the possibility that the human antibodies responsible for induction of reaginic hypersensitivity reactions might have unique structures that are lacking in the antibody molecules involved in immunity and that the differences in the structures of human antibody molecules can be recognized by the immune systems of experimental animals. Our studies were based on the hypothesis that reaginic antibody activity is associated with a unique immunoglobulin isotype, which is now called IgE. As expected, identification of IgE facilitated the analysis of immunologic mechanisms of reaginic hypersensitivity. Subsequent studies revealed that IgE specifically bound to basophilic granulocytes and mast cells through the Fc portion of the molecules and that cross-linking of the cell-bound IgE antibody molecules by allergen induced the release of bioactive mediators, such as histamine and leukotrienes, which initiate allergic reactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy