It is widely accepted that immunoglobulin (Ig)E triggers immediate hypersensitivity responses by activating a cognate high-affinity receptor, FcepsilonRI, leading to mast cell degranulation with release of vasoactive and proinflammatory mediators. This apparent specificity, however, is complicated by the ability of IgE to bind with low affinity to Fc receptors for IgG, FcgammaRII and III. We have addressed the in vivo significance of this interaction by studying IgE-mediated passive systemic anaphylaxis in FcgammaR-deficient mice. Mice deficient in the inhibitory receptor for IgG, FcgammaRIIB, display enhanced IgE-mediated anaphylactic responses, whereas mice deficient in an IgG activation receptor, FcgammaRIII, display a corresponding attenuation of IgE-mediated responses. Thus, in addition to modulating IgG-triggered hypersensitivity responses, FcgammaRII and III on mast cells are potent regulators of IgE-mediated responses and reveal the existence of a regulatory pathway for IgE triggering of effector cells through IgG Fc receptors that could contribute to the etiology of the atopic response.
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