Canonically, immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediates allergic immune responses by triggering mast cells and basophils to release histamine and type 2 helper cytokines. Here we found that in human systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), IgE antibodies specific for double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) activated plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), a type of cell of the immune system linked to viral defense, which led to the secretion of substantial amounts of interferon-α (IFN-α). The concentration of dsDNA-specific IgE found in patient serum correlated with disease severity and greatly potentiated pDC function by triggering phagocytosis via the high-affinity Fc RI receptor for IgE, followed by Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-mediated sensing of DNA in phagosomes. Our findings expand the known pathogenic mechanisms of IgE-mediated inflammation beyond those found in allergy and demonstrate that IgE can trigger interferon responses capable of exacerbating self-destructive autoimmune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy