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Kinins, airway obstruction, and anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is a term that implies symptoms that are present in many organs, some of which are potentially fatal. The pathogenic process can either be IgE-dependent or non-IgE-dependent; the latter circumstance may be referred to as anaphylactoid. Bradykinin is frequently responsible for the manifestations of IgE-independent reactions. Blood levels may increase because of overproduction; diseases such as the various forms of C1 inhibitor deficiency (hereditary or acquired) or hereditary angioedema with normal C1 inhibitor are examples in this category. Blood levels may also increase because of an abnormality in bradykinin metabolism; the angioedema due to ACE inhibitors is a commonly encountered example. Angioedema due to bradykinin has the potential to cause airway obstruction and asphyxia as well as severe gastrointestinal symptoms simulating an acute abdomen. Formation of bradykinin in plasma is a result of a complex interaction among proteins such as factor XII, prekallikrein, and high molecular weight kininogen (HK) resulting in HK cleavage and liberation of bradykinin. These proteins also assemble along the surface of endothelial cells via zinc-dependent interactions with gC1qR, cytokeratin 1, and u-PAR. Endothelial cell expression (or secretion) of heat-shock protein 90 or prolylcarboxypeptidase can activate the prekallikrein-HK complex to generate bradykinin in the absence of factor XII, however factor XII is then secondarily activated by the kallikrein that results. Bradykinin is destroyed by carboxypeptidase N and angiotensin-converting enzyme. The hypotension associated with IgE-dependent anaphylaxis maybe mediated, in part, by massive proteolytic digestion of HK by kallikreins (tissue or plasma-derived) or other cell-derived kininogenases.Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel. [References: 102].

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