Background: Chronic urticaria (CU) appears to be of autoimmune origin in about half of all patients, since several autoreactive immunoglobulin Gs (IgGs), such as anti-FcεRIα and anti-IgE, are detected in the sera of such patients. However, whether autoreactive IgE is associated with CU remains unclear. In this study, we attempted to identify autoreactive IgE antibodies in sera from patients with CU. Methods: Sera were collected from 67 normal subjects, 85 patients with CU and 28 patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). An autologous serum skin test (ASST) was performed on 27 of the CU patients. Autoreactive IgE and IgG levels against self-antigens were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The basophils were activated with dsDNA, and the CD63 expression level was examined using a fluorescence-activated cell sorter. Results: The anti-dsDNA IgE levels were significantly higher in patients with CU and AD than in normal subjects, but no differences in the anti-dsDNA IgG levels were seen. The levels of thioredoxin-, peroxiredoxin- and thyroglobulin-reactive IgE and IgG were not significantly higher in the CU patients than in the other 2 groups. There was no significant difference in the levels of anti-dsDNA IgE between ASST-positive and ASST-negative patients. The basophils from 2 out of 9 CU patients exhibited degranulation in response to dsDNA. Conclusions: Our data suggest that anti-dsDNA IgE is involved in the pathogenesis of some cases of CU.
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