IgE and the atopic pathway
‘Atopy’ is defined as a predisposition to developing certain allergic reactions due to a hypersensitivity in the immune system: specifically, an over-production of the allergen antibody IgE.
Atopy is also often referred to as “IgE-mediated reactions”, since it is the IgE that is the main factor in the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals when someone is exposed to various allergens.
For anyone with seasonal or year-round allergies, it is important to understand what IgE is, the role it plays in allergic reactions, and how the interaction of IgE and mast cells results in what people refer to as their “allergies”.
The atopic pathway
How hypersensitivity results in allergy symptoms
IgE – Immunoglobulin E – is an important protein that is part of your body’s healthy immune system. It serves to trigger cells in your body to release various chemicals when you are exposed to potentially dangerous ‘foreign invading’ substances, such as bacteria or viruses.
However, allergic individuals tend to over-produce IgE – meaning their bodies produce more IgE than is necessary for a normal, healthy-functioning immune system. Some of these factors may include genetics, stress, environmental factors, and diet. People who over-produce IgE are more prone to developing allergic reactions that result in sneezing, itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and nasal and sinus congestion.
In general, non-allergic individuals produce low levels of IgE and have a normal response (i.e. without symptoms) when exposed to allergens such as pollen, pet dander or mold, while allergic individuals produce high levels of IgE and do have an allergic reaction to these otherwise harmless allergens.
According to Dr. Paul H. Ratner, MD, a leading Board Certified Allergist and an accomplished allergy researcher, a “normal response to seasonal and year-round allergens is NO ALLERGIC RESPONSE AT ALL.”
How IgE is a factor in allergic reactions
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) are antibodies produced by the immune system. If you have an allergy, your immune system basically overreacts to an allergen by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, or on the skin.
Each type of IgE has specific “radar” for each type of allergen. That’s why some people are only allergic to cat dander (they only have the IgE antibodies specific to cat dander); while others have allergic reactions to multiple allergens because they have many more types of IgE antibodies. If your body over-produces the IgE antibody for ragweed pollen, for example, you are more likely to experience allergy symptoms when you are exposed to ragweed pollen than someone who does not have the ragweed pollen IgE antibodies in their system.
IgE binds to mast cells
IgE starts the pathway to allergic reactions by binding to cells in your body called mast cells. Mast cells are a critical component of your immune system, and contain various inflammatory chemicals, including histamine, which they release to fight off foreign invading substances that could potentially be harmful to you. In the case of seasonal allergies, which are not harmful allergens, the allergic reaction you may experience is due to an imbalance in the immune system where your body over-produces too much IgE.
The IgE antibodies bind themselves to the mast cells, waiting for exposure to their specific allergen. Upon exposure to that allergen, whether it’s ragweed or another pollen, or pet dander, the allergens bind to the IgE molecules that are sitting on the Mast Cells, which triggers the mast cells to release histamine into your system, and this is what causes the allergic reaction.
Mast cells and basophils break down and “degranulate” releasing histamine, cytokines, prostaglandins, and leukotrienes that cause inflammation and allergy symptoms.
The Process Illustrated
This is why regulating the over-production of IgE can be extremely effective in reducing the sensitivity of the mast cells to release histamine. If there are fewer IgE antibodies available, there are fewer of them attached to the mast cells, and thus, upon exposure to allergens, there is less likelihood the allergens will cause a histamine release.
In contrast to commonly marketed antihistamines for allergy treatment, AllergX is formulated to work before the onset of allergy symptoms to lower serum IgE levels prior to the release of histamines and, in turn, lessen the potential for triggering an allergic response to seasonal and year-round allergens. AllergX helps build up and maintains a healthy, normal functioning immune system.
Remember: it’s NOT the pollen (or pet dander)… it’s the HISTAMINE! AllergX safely and effectively regulates the over-production of IgE and reduces the likelihood of a hyper-sensitive release of histamine.