IgE-mediated release of mast cell contents. Inset, Intact mast cell with histamine stored in granules. An IgE antibody molecule is depicted adjacent to the mast cell. Two IgE molecules combine with a mast cell (sensitization). The attachment of an antigen (allergen) to the sensitized mast cell initiates release of histamine (and other substances) from the mast cell. This degranulation can be prevented by such agents as isoproterenol, theophylline, epinephrine, and cromolyn sodium. H1 antihistamines do not interfere with degranulation but instead prevent actions of histamine at various pharmacological receptors.
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