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I have wondered what actually happens in an allergic reaction that causes the symptoms such as pain, rash etc.

Is it possible that the human body actually kills its own cells in the process?

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I would imagine that the complement system may trigger cell death. –  bobthejoe Feb 8 '13 at 10:05
    
@bobthejoe Do you have any paper or article regarding this topic? –  arielschon12 Feb 8 '13 at 10:26
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Actually, the body often kills its own cells, look up apoptosis. –  terdon Feb 8 '13 at 11:12
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Is it possible that the human body actually kills its own cells in the process?

Yes it is. It is happens not only as a result of allergic reactions (see comment of @terdon). But in case of allergy our body have 3 methods for killing own cells.

  • Cytotoxic, antibody-dependent (Type 2 hypersensitivity) The antibodies produced by the immune response bind to antigens on the patient's own cell surfaces.These cells are recognized by macrophages or dendritic cells, which act as antigen-presenting cells. This causes a B cell response, wherein antibodies are produced against the foreign antigen.
  • Immune complex (Type 3 hypersensitivity) Occurs when antigen-antibody complexes that are not adequately cleared by innate immune cells accumulate, giving rise to an inflammatory response and attraction of leukocytes
  • Cell-mediated immune memory response (Type 4 hypersensitivity) is an immune response that does not involve antibodies, but rather involves the activation of phagocytes, natural killer cells (NK), antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in response to an antigen.

See Wiki about types and diseases and about Hypersensitivity

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Thanks a lot for the detailed answer, but in the wiki it says that only Type I Sensitivity is an allergy. So are your answers still relevant? –  arielschon12 Feb 8 '13 at 15:38
    
If you ask about Type 1 hypersensitivity - my answer is "No. Type 1 hypersensitivity didn't kill own body's cells directly". But if we talk about an allergic reaction that causes the symptoms such as pain, rash etc my answer still relevant –  sviter Feb 8 '13 at 16:08
    
So basically you are saying that a Type 1 hypersensitivity could possibly trigger Type 2, 3 or 4 hypersensitivity? If so, how? –  arielschon12 Feb 9 '13 at 19:34
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