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Increased Susceptibility to Allergies 1

Increased susceptibility to allergies
immunology

Question

Vignette: A 25-year-old woman comes to the clinic complaining of recurrent infections, including sinusitis, bronchitis and oral thrush over the past year. She reports having a history of frequent infections since she was a child. Laboratory studies show normal levels of IgG, IgA, and IgM but decreased levels of IgE. She is diagnosed with a selective IgE deficiency.

Which of the following is the most likely consequence of her condition?

Choices

A. Increased susceptibility to bacterial infections

B. Increased susceptibility to viral infections

C. Increased susceptibility to parasitic infections

D. Increased susceptibility to fungal infections

E. Increased susceptibility to allergic reactions

Answer

C. Increased susceptibility to parasitic infections

Explanation

IgE is an antibody that is primarily involved in the immune response to parasites. It also plays a role in the pathogenesis of many allergic diseases. Patients with selective IgE deficiencies fail to mount an effective immune response against parasites. Thus, they are more susceptible to parasitic infections. While IgE does have some role in response to other pathogens and in hypersensitivity reactions, its primary function is defense against parasites. The other choices are incorrect because IgG, IgA, and IgM, which are normal in this patient, play a larger role in defense against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Furthermore, while IgE is involved in allergic reactions, a deficiency would lead to a decreased, not increased, susceptibility to these reactions.

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