Binding of IgE to Mast Cells and Basophils The Fce Receptor

Mast cells and basophils express a high-affinity Fc receptor specific for e heavy chains, called FceRI, which binds IgE. IgE, like all other antibodies, is made exclusively by B cells, yet IgE functions as an antigen receptor on the surface of mast cells and basophils. This function is accomplished by IgE binding to FceRI on these cells. The affinity of FceRI for IgE is very high (dissociation constant [Kd] of about 1 x 10-10 M), much higher than that of any other Fc receptor for its antibody ligand. Therefore, the normal serum concentration of IgE, although low in comparison to other Ig isotypes (less than 5 x 10-10 M), is sufficient to allow occupancy of FceRI receptors. In addition to mast cells and basophils, FceRI has been detected on eosinophils, epidermal Langerhans cells, some dermal macrophages, and activated monocytes.

TABLE 19-2 Mediators Produced by Mast Cells, Basophils, and Eosinophils

Cell Type

Mediator Category


Function/Pathologic Effects

Mast cells and basophils

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