Renaissance of the Blocking Antibody Concept in Type I AllergyFlicker S. · Valenta R.
Division of Immunopathology, Department of Pathophysiology, University of Vienna, Vienna General Hospital, Vienna, Austria
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Formation of IgE antibodies against per se harmless antigens (i.e. allergens) is the hallmark and key pathomechanism of type I allergy, a hypersensitivity disease affecting more than 25% of the population. Classical experiments performed more than 65 years ago demonstrated that allergen-specific IgG antibodies, termed blocking antibodies, can antagonize the cascade of allergic inflammation resulting from allergen recognition by IgE antibodies. However, controversial results have questioned the protective role of IgG antibodies in allergic diseases. Here, we review recent data demonstrating that blocking antibodies inhibit allergen-induced release of inflammatory mediators from basophils and mast cells as well as IgE-facilitated allergen presentation to T cells, thus leading to suppression of T cell activation. Furthermore, it has been reported that the development of blocking antibodies is associated with reduced boosts of allergen-specific IgE production in patients receiving allergen-specific immunotherapy. These findings suggest that blocking antibodies have protective activity by inhibiting immediate as well as late inflammatory responses and long-term ameliorating activity on the allergic immune response by antagonizing the underlying IgE production. Induction of blocking antibodies is thus an important mechanism underlying allergen-specific immunotherapy. In addition, passive administration of blocking antibodies may be considered as a potential therapeutic strategy for allergic diseases.
© 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel
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