Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2011, Article ID 276258, 5 pages
Review Article

X-Ray Contrast Media Mechanisms in the Release of Mast Cell Contents: Understanding These Leads to a Treatment for Allergies

UCSD Emeritus, USA

Received 14 May 2011; Revised 15 July 2011; Accepted 16 July 2011

Academic Editor: K. Blaser

Copyright © 2011 Elliott C. Lasser. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A long history of searching for the etiology of X-ray contrast material (CM) reactions has led to the understanding that the CM do not produce anti-CM antigens. Since CM reactions are anaphylactoid in nature, however, a source for mast cell activation was sought. This resulted in the finding that concentrated CM could suppress mast cell activation by attachment to the Fc portion of IgE and IgG. This is presumed to be a steric hindrance effect. In a study of the effects of CM on BP and a study of the effects of CM in sensitized rats, it was concluded that less concentrated CM activated mast cells and that this mechanism was best explained by bridging of adjacent IgE molecules via attachment to their Fc segments. The mast cell release of heparin activating the contact system, as well as the release of histamine, is believed to be responsible for CM reactions and allergic diatheses.