The high affinity IgE receptor FcεRI Is expressed by human intestinal epithelial cells

Eva Untersmayr, Giovanna Bises, Philipp Starkl, Charles L Bevins, Otto Scheiner, George Boltz-Nitulescu, Fritz Wrba, Erika Jensen-Jarolim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: IgE antibodies play a paramount role in the pathogenesis of various intestinal disorders. To gain insights in IgE-mediated pathophysiology of the gut, we investigated the expression of the high affinity IgE receptor FceRI in human intestinal epithelium. Methodology/Principal Findings: FcεRI α-chain, as detected by immunohistochemistry, was positive in epithelial cells for eight of eleven (8/11) specimens from colon cancer patients and 5/11 patients with inflammation of the enteric mucosa. The FcεRIα positive epithelial cells co-expressed FcεRIγ, whereas with one exception, none of the samples was positive for the β-chain in the epithelial layer. The functionality of FceRI was confirmed in situ by human IgE binding. In experiments with human intestinal tumor cell lines, subconfluent Caco-2/TC7 and HCT-8 cells were found to express the α- and γ-chains of FcεRI and to bind IgE, whereas confluent cells were negative for γ-chains. Conclusions/Significance: Our data provide the first evidence that the components of a functional FceRI are in vitro expressed by the human intestinal epithelial cells depending on differentiation and, more importantly, in situ in epithelia of patients with colon cancer or gastrointestinal inflammations. Thus, a contribution of FceRI either to immunosurveillance or pathophysiology of the intestinal epithelium is suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere9023
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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