Allergy

Updated 12 February 2013

Glossary of terms

Baffled by basophils, ignorant about IgE? Here's what it all means.

Baffled by basophils, ignorant about IgE? Here's what it all means.

  • Allergen: an allergy-causing substance;
  • Antibody: a B-cell produced protein molecule made in response to, and reactive with, a specific antigen;
  • Antigen: a substance capable of causing the production of antibodies and then reacting specifically with these antibodies;
  • B-cell (B-lymphocyte): a type of white blood cell capable of producing antibodies;
  • Basophil: a white blood cell containing histamine and other allergy mediators;
  • Histamine: a chemical present mainly in mast cells that, when released, causes many of the symptoms of allergy;
  • IgE: the type of antibody most instrumental in allergic reactions;
  • Lymph nodes: small organs within the lymph system located at the intersections of lymph channels;
  • Lymphocyte: a type of white blood cell instrumental in antibody production;
  • Mast cell: a type of cell containing histamine and other allergy mediators instrumental in the allergic response.

(Health24, updated February 2010)

Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA)

 

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Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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