Trends Immunol 2003 Apr;24(4):181-5
Redegeld FA, Nijkamp FP.
Department of Pharmacology and Pathophysiology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, Sorbonnelaan 16/PO Box 80082, 3508TB, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Immunoglobulin (Ig) free light (L)-chains have long been considered as the meaningless remnants of a spillover in the regular Ig production by B cells.
The recently discovered role for Ig free L-chains in mediating hypersensitivity-like responses sheds new light on their potential role in immune responses.
Ig free L-chains can sensitize mast cells, such that a second encounter with the appropriate antigen results in mast-cell activation.
The possible importance of this reaction for the induction of T-cell-mediated immune reactions, leading to contact sensitivity, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis is discussed.