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June 19, 1996

Allergy and Immunology

Author Affiliations

University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor

JAMA. 1996;275(23):1794-1795. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530470022013

Developments in our understanding of the regulation of the immune response highlight the past year's progress in the field of allergy and immunology. Three of the important topics include the genetic regulation of IgE production, Fas regulation of immune responses, and the control of TH1 and TH2 immune responses.

High total serum IgE levels are known to correlate with allergies, asthma, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. The observed familial aggregation of allergies and asthma has long supported the existence of an important heritable component to these conditions. As with most complex disorders, however, the allergic and asthmatic phenotypes do not seem to be inherited in simple Mendelian fashion. Furthermore, the clinical expression of these disorders is influenced by age, sex, and exposure to allergens, pollutants, and viral respiratory infections.1,2 Consequently, the mode(s) of inheritance and the gene(s) responsible for these complex atopic disorders have been incompletely understood. Recent investigations into the