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Allergy and Genetics

Journal of the Korean Pediatric Society 1994;37(4):439-451.
Published online April 15, 1994.
Allergy and Genetics
Dong Hak Shin
Department of Pediatrics, Keimyung University, School of Medicine, Kyung Ju, Korea
알레르기와 유전
계명대학교 의과대학 소아과학교실
Allergy was originally defined in 1906 in 1906 by Clemens von Pirquet as 'altered reactivity' to denote the different reaction which occurs on second exposure to an antigen due to the formation of antibodies, when compared to the first exposure. The term atopy decribes the clinical presentation of Type I hypersensitivity, which include asthna, eczema, hay fever and urticaria. These usually occur in subjects with a family history of these or similar conditions. The mechanism of allergy is the Type I hypersensitivity reaction. Contact with allergen results in its being processed by an antigen presenting cell and presented to T helper cells which then help B cells to IgE antibody. The IgE antibody is rapidly taken up via its Fc portion by mast cells and basophils, which are then senitized. Subsequent contact with same allergen will result in the cross-linking of IgE molecules by their portions which cause cell degranulation and mediator release. The contribution of genentic factors to the development of atopy has been an intriguing issue. The exact controlling mechanisms of the genetic factors are unknown. But there are studies support the genetic controls of the development of atopy. Abnormally high levels of IgE synthesis and associated atopy often run in families. Although the full inhritance pattern is probably multigenic, family studies has shown that their is clear autosomal transmission of atopy. The ability to make specific IgE antibodies to certain antigens, e.g., ragweed pollen, is also inherited and may be linked to particular class II major histocompatibility complex alleles. Therefore, I think that the clinicians must consider the environmental and genetic factors when evaluate the atopic disease.
Key Words: Allergy

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