CAROL AND MIKE WERNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CAROL AND MIKE WERNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Labelled illustration depicting allergies and the IgE inflammatory response. The antigen presenting cell draws in allergens, breaks them down with enzymes, and packages small pieces together with MHC class II molecules on its surface. This activates T lymphocytes to produce cytokines which drive up inflammation and also cause B lymphocytes to produce immunoglobulin (IgE) antibodies. Once sensitized, B cells differentiate into plasma cells which produce IgE antibodies that bind to granulocytes and mast cells. Further contact with the specific allergen causes the IgE on the surface of reactive cells to release preformed mediators including cytokines, histamine, leukotrienes, enzymes and tumor necrosis factor.
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