Failure to detect deposition of complement and immunoglobulin in allergen-induced late-phase skin reaction in atopic subjects

Clinical and Experimental Immunology
A J Frew, A B Kay


There still remains some controversy regarding the possible role of immune complexes in the pathogenesis of the late-phase skin reaction (LPSR). To assess this, skin biopsies were obtained from LPSR induced in atopic human subjects 6, 24 and 48 h after allergen challenge. Cryostat sections were stained by direct immunofluorescence for the presence of fibrinogen, immunoglobulin classes IgM and IgG and for the complement components C1q and C3c. Complement components were observed in only two of the 29 biopsies studied. In both instances, only C3c was detected. One of these subjects also had unequivocal IgG staining at 6 h. IgM staining was detected in two out of 10 subjects at 6 h but no significant deposition of immunoglobulins could be found at 24 or 48 h. Fibrinogen deposition was observed in about half of the biopsies at each time-point. This study suggests that substantial complement and immunoglobulin deposition are not overt features of the allergen-induced LPSR, although the presence of small amounts of immune complexes, below the sensitivity of the method employed cannot be excluded. Fibrin deposition occurs in the LPSR but does not appear to be a prerequisite for LPSR development.


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