Fig. 10: Opsonization of a Helminth by IgE and Eosinophils

A major function of the cytokines produced by TH2 cells is to enable B-lymphocytes to activate eosinophils and produce increased amounts of a class of antibodies called IgE against helminths (parasitic worms) and arthropods. IgE act as an opsonizing antibody to stick phagocytic eosinophils to helminths for extracellular killing of the helminths. The Fab portion of IgE reacts with epitopes on the helminth while the Fc portion binds to Fc receptors of activated eosinophils. The lysosomal proteases of eosinophils are able to destroy the tough integument of helminths. IgE also promotes inflammation to recruit phagocytes.


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