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Type II Hypersensitivity

January 10, 2009

A little more clarification on “allergies vs. intolerances”.  This information is largely from ImmunoCAP and I will include links as I cut and paste from their site. All emphasis is mine.

“The term “allergy” was originally introduced by von Pirquet in 1906, meaning “changed reactivity”. At that time he imposed no restrictions as to the type of immunological response in the patient. It is only in recent years that “allergy” has become synonymous with Type I hypersensitivity (IgE-mediated allergy). Four different types of hypersensitivity were described by Coomb and Gell (Types I, II, III and IV), as a pedagogical way to increase the understanding of different immune reactions which could be provoked by many antigens. In practice these types do not necessarily occur in isolation from each other.”  Link

Type II Hypersensitivity: “In these immune reactions the antibodies are free in the serum, while the antigen is bound to the surface of certain cells or is a component of the cell membrane. Often the substances concerned are small molecules, haptens that are fixed to the cell surface, thus resulting in the formation of the antigen. When the antibodies (of IgG or IgM type) react with the antigen, complement is activated, the cell is damaged and lysis may ensue. A complement-induced accumulation of granulocytes, together with release of anaphylatoxins and histamine, can lead to further damage. Link.

What is being described above is called “cytotoxic” by other sites. Cyto = cell and toxic=poison. The only time you really want something cytotoxic happening in your body is if you are having chemotherapy for cancer or an autoimmune disease. Then you want the cells to die. But on a daily basis, inducing cytotoxic reactions is a really bad idea. It inflames your tissues, stresses every system in your body and just generally makes you really, miserably sick, sometimes in multiple ways. Keep reading from ImmunoCAP:

“Non toxic food reactions depend on an individual’s susceptibility to certain foods and are caused by both immune-mediated (food allergy) or non immune-mediated (food intolerance) reactions. Food allergy includes IgE-mediated reactions as well as non IgE-mediated reactions.Link

You can find a great deal of information on Type II Hypersensitivity by searching Google on that phrase. I hope that will help others who have felt that people minimize their food allergies because they aren’t a Type I.

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