- An allergen-specific tube leukocyte adherence inhibition (LAI) assay has been developed in order to study the mechanism by which leukocytes lose their normal property of adherence to glass. Peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) from 27 individuals allergic to Dermatophagoides farinae (DF), 10 with seasonal rhinitis not induced by DF and 49 non-allergic healthy volunteers were challenged in vitro with DF and a non-relevant allergen, Artemisia vulgaris (AV) and then assayed for the ability to adhere to glass tubes. Challenge by DF, but not by AV, resulted in loss of adherence by PBL from patients allergic to DF, but not in those of normal controls. The specific LAI response was dose-dependent and occurred only when a critical dose of 0.5 X 10(3) was employed. Following in vitro challenge with DF, radio-immunoassay using an antiserum to LTC4 detected immunoreactive material in supernatants of PBL from DF-allergic individuals. When highly enriched mononuclear cells from non-allergic individuals were armed with cytophilic allergen-specific IgE and challenged with the specific allergen, they lost the property of glass adherence and released a substance that was immunoreactive with LTC4. The results suggest that the chain of events leading to the LAI response in PBL from allergic individuals involves primary recognition of the allergen by specific IgE antibodies bound to receptors on mononuclear cells. The cells are thus triggered to synthesize cysteinyl-containing leukotrienes which mediate the LAI phenomenon. The results suggest that this assay may be used to study allergen-antibody interaction and the subsequent events leading to the clinical picture of atopic diseases.