Antibodies against receptor molecules for IgE on rat basophilic leukemic (RBL) cells were prepared by immunization of a rabbit with immune precipitates composed of IgE-receptor complexes and anti-IgE. Antibodies against cell surface components were specifically purified by using RBL cells and rendered specific for mast cells by appropriate absorption. The major antibodies in the final preparation (anti-RBL) were directed against receptor molecules. It was found that the F(ab′)2 fragments of anti-RBL induced histamine release from rat mast cells and caused immediate skin reactions in normal rats. These reactions by anti-RBL or its F(ab′)2 fragments were inhibited if the receptors on mast cells had been saturated with IgE. The Fab′ fragments of anti-RBL could bind with receptors on RBL cells and blocked passive sensitization of mast cells with IgE antibodies, but failed to induce skin reactions and histamine release from normal mast cells. Sensitization of normal rat skin with the Fab′ fragments followed by an i.v. injection of anti-rabbit IgG induced skin reactions. The results indicated that bridging of receptor molecules by divalent anti-receptor antibody triggered mast cells for histamine release.

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