Type III hypersensitivity reactions are what I suffer from. The probable cause of alllll my problems. I’ll explain how it works. Type III hypersensitivity reactions are also known as immune complex-mediated hypersensitivity. I’ve explained antibodies and antigens in this blog post:
A patient develops antibodies to a specific protein (for me, and for a ton of other people that just don’t realize it, that’s a whole slew of different foods, preservatives, dyes, etc.) When the antibodies circulate in your body, they form immune complexes with the protein that is acting as an antigen. After a couple of days to a week, symptoms occur. These symptoms can include fever, weakness, generalized swelling, (I get huge bags under my eyes), joint pain, acne, itchiness, depression, fatigue, anxiety, sweating, etc. Often these complexes accumulate in tissues and can contribute to the pathogenesis of many other conditions (such as autoimmune disorders, hepatitis, malaria, and my belief – depression, anxiety, etc). Clinical effects will subside when the antigen has been completely broken down. Unfortunately, this can take almost a month and if you eat something else that your body forms immune complexes to, you just keep reacting and you never get better. The immune complexes build up in your tissues and you get tissue damage.
Why do you get tissue damage?
Large numbers of immune complexes within tissues can result in abnormal reactions (such as the induction of complement or an inflammatory response mediated by a massive infiltration of neutrophils – both of which cause tissue damage). Complement (a whole cascade of different proteins your body makes) induces inflammatory reactions through neutrophil attraction to the site of deposition. Neutrophils (a type of immune system cell) release lytic enzymes as they attempt to phagocytose the immune complexes. Basically they release proteins that can destroy immune complexes while they try to gobble them up. This also destroys tissues around the immune complexes. If you’re like me, that means your joint tissues. If you have MS, that could be your nerve sheaths. This weakens surrounding cell membranes and causes tissue damage IF you don’t stop the immune complexes from being formed in the first place.
If you go to a doctor, they’ll tell you that your body is just wired wrong and oops it’s attacking itself. If you have an autoimmune disorder they’ll suggest strong anti-inflammatory medication (steroids) and immune suppressants. This doesn’t solve the underlying issue. The immune complexes still accumulate in your tissues, all the drug does is stops your body from trying to attack the immune complexes. This is NOT a good fix.
Type IV hypersensitivity reactions are also known as cell-mediated or delayed hypersensitivity reactions. The medical community already knows that IBD is caused by these. Basically after exposure to the antigen (the protein you consumed that your body has decided to attack), T cells become activated (another immune system cell), and initiate an immune response. Some of these T cells can release cytokines that cause damage (release chemicals like hydrogen peroxide), and some T cells cause the damage themselves. Some autoimmune disorders can test for antibodies to “self cells”. (For rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disease they test whether or not you’re Rf positive). Again, doctors will put you on anti-inflammatory medication and immune suppressants when you could just stop ingesting the proteins that are seen as antigens and trigger your T cell production.