Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is believed to be one of the major mediators of immediate hypersensitivity reactions that underlie atopic conditions such as urticaria, seasonal allergy, asthma and anaphylaxis. Factors that control IgE production are therefore essential to the pathogenesis of these important afflictions. But a complete understanding of this topic is lacking, while new data have raised questions regarding the precise role of IgE in atopic disease. Evolving concepts of IgE production and elimination are likely to clarify the importance of IgE in health and disease.
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