Type I hypersensitivity
|Type I hypersensitivity|
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. 
Type I hypersensitivity (or immediate hypersensitivity) is an allergic reaction provoked by reexposure to a specific type of antigen referred to as an allergen. Exposure may be by ingestion, inhalation, injection, or direct contact. The difference between a normal immune response and a type I hypersensitive response is that plasma cells secrete IgE. This class of antibodies binds to Fc receptors on the surface of tissue mast cells and blood basophils. Mast cells and basophils coated by IgE are "sensitized." Later exposure to the same allergen, cross-links the bound IgE on sensitized cells resulting in degranulation and the secretion of pharmacologically active mediators such as histamine, leukotriene, and prostaglandin that act on the surrounding tissues. The principal effects of these products are vasodilation and smooth-muscle contraction.
The reaction may be either local or systemic. Symptoms vary from mild irritation to sudden death from anaphylactic shock. Treatment usually involves epinephrine, antihistamines, and corticosteroids. If the entire body gets involved, then anaphylaxis can take place; an acute, systemic reaction that can prove fatal.
- Allergic asthma
- Allergic conjunctivitis
- Allergic rhinitis ("hay fever")
- Urticaria (hives)
Template:Hypersensitivity and autoimmune diseases