Hypersensitivity reaction

Last revised by Dr Jeremy Jones on 26 Sep 2021

Hypersensitivity reactions are the immunological response to both exogenous and endogenous antigens, and form the basis for many diseases. 

Pathology

Classification

Using the Gell and Coombs' classification, there are four types of hypersensitivity reactions, each mediated by a different mechanism. In the past twenty years there have been modifications of the original classification in order to incorporate revised understandings of the immune system and its responses  1-4,10

History and etymology

Robin Coombs and Philip George Houthem Gell, British immunologists, first described their eponymous classification system of hypersensitivity reactions in their seminal textbook "Clinical Aspects of Immunology", which was first published in 1963 11,12. Coombs is also remembered by generations of medical students and doctors for his eponymous antiglobulin test 11.

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