Glossary of terms

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.

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 18, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD