Research ArticleALLERGY

Chronic allergen exposure drives accumulation of long-lived IgE plasma cells in the bone marrow, giving rise to serological memory

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Science Immunology  10 Jan 2020:
Vol. 5, Issue 43, eaav8402
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aav8402

Locating the reservoir for IgE memory

Allergic diseases persist when the immune system chronically churns out allergen-specific IgE antibodies. Identifying the tissue location of IgE+ memory plasma cells is complicated by their very low frequency. Asrat et al. tracked IgE+ memory plasma cell development after intranasal exposure of mice to house dust mite allergen using fluorescent reporter transgenes to mark IgE+ plasma cells. In mice repeatedly exposed to allergen for 15 weeks, long-lived IgE+ memory plasma cells emerged in the bone marrow. IgE+ memory plasma cells in the bone marrow of both mice and allergic human patients yielded pathogenic IgE antibodies capable of eliciting anaphylaxis after transfer. Identification of long-lived plasma cells as the chief source of IgE memory may assist in developing new therapeutic approaches for chronic allergic diseases.

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