Role of Basophils in Allergic Reactions

  • Peter Valent


A number of previous and more recent studies have shown that basophil granulocytes are effector cells of allergic reactions (1–3). These cells store histamine in their granules and express high-affinity immunoglobulin E (IgE) binding sites (3,4). In addition, blood basophils can release their mediators in response to an allergen or other stimuli. In patients with allergic asthma, rhinitis, or contact dermatitis, basophils can be detected at the sites of disease and frequently show signs of anaphylactoid degranulation (5–7). Basophils may also accumulate in affected tissues during the late phase of an allergic reaction following antigen challenge (5,8). During the past few years, major advances in basophil research have been made and novel concepts have emerged. In contrast to mast cell research most of these data stem from research on human cells. This article gives a short overview of the role of blood basophils in allergic reactions.


Nerve Growth Factor Mediator Release Human Basophil Blood Basophil Basophil Histamine Release 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Lichtenstein LM, Bochner BS (1991) The role of basophils in asthma Ann NY Acad Sci 629: 48–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Valent P, Bettelheim P (1990) The human basophil. Crit Rev Oncol Hematol 10: 327–352.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Serafin WE, Austen KF (1987) Mediators of immediate hypersensitivity reactions. N Engl J Med 317: 30–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ishizaka T, Ishizaka K (1984) Activation of mast cells for mediator release through IgE receptors. Prog Allergy 34: 188–235.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Dvorak HF, Simpson BA, Bast RC, Leskowitz S (1971) Cutaneous basophil hypersensitivity. III. Participation of the basophil in hypersensitivity to antigen-antibody complexes, delayed hypersensitivity and contact allergy. J Immunol 107: 138–148.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dvorak HF, Mihm MC (1972) Basophilic leukocytes in allergic contact dermatitis. J Exp Med 135: 235–254.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Mitchell EB, Askenase PW (1983) Basophils in human disease. Clin Rev Allergy 1: 427–448.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Charlesworth EN, Hood AF, Soter NA, Kagey-Sobotka, Norman PS, Lichtenstein LM (1989) Cutaneous late-phase response to allergen: mediator release and inflammatory cell infiltration. J Clin Invest 83: 1519–1526.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Denburg JA (1992) Basophil and mast cell lineages in vitro and in vivo. Blood 79: 846–860.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Denburg JA, Richardson M, Telizyn S, Bienenstock J (1983) Basophil/mast cell precursors in human peripheral blood. Blood 61: 775–780.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Valent P, Schmidt G, Besemer J, Mayer P, Zenke G, Liehl E, Hinterberger W, Lechner K, Maurer D, Bettelheim P (1989) Interleukin-3 is a differentiation factor for human basophils. Blood 73: 1763–1769.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Denburg JA, Silver JE, Abrams JS (1991) Interleukin-5 is a human basophilopoietin: induction of histamine content and basophilic differentiation of HL-60 cells and of peripheral blood basophil-eosinophil progenitors. Blood 77: 1462–1468.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mayer P, Valent P, Schmidt G, Liehl E, Bettelheim P (1989) The in vivo effects of recombinant human interleukin-3: demonstration of basophil differentiation factor, histamine-producing activity, and priming of GM-CSF-responsive progenitors in nonhuman primates. Blood 74: 613–621.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Matsuda H, Coughlin MD, Bienenstock J, Denburg, JA (1988) Nerve growth factor promotes human hemopoietic colony growth and differentiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 85: 6508–6512.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tsuda T, Wong D, Dolovich J, Bienenstock J, Marshall J, Denburg JA (1991) Synergistic effects of nerve growth factor and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor on human basophilic cell differentiation. Blood 77: 971–979.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sillaber C, Geissler K, Scherrer R, Kaltenbrunner R, Bettelheim P, Lechner K, Valent P (1992) Type ß transforming growth factors promote interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent differentiation of human basophils but inhibit IL-3 dependent differentiation of human eosinophils. Blood 80: 634–641.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bradding P, Roberts JA, Britten KM, Montefort S, Djukanovic R, Mueller R, Heusser CH, Howarth PH, Holgate ST (1994) Interleukin-4, -5, -6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in normal and asthmatic airways: evidence for the human mast cell as a source of these cytokines. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 10: 471–480.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kay AB, Ying S, Varney V, Gaga M, Durham SR, Moqbel R, Wardlaw AJ, Hamid Q (1991) Messenger RNA expression of the cytokine gene cluster, interleukin-3 (IL-3), IL-4, IL-5, and granulocyte/ macrophage colony-stimulating factor, in allergen-induced late-phase cutaneous reactions in atopic subjects. J Exp Med 173: 775–778.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Denburg JA, Woolley M, Leber B, Linden M, O’Byme P (1994) Basophil and eosinophil differentiation in allergic disease. J Allergy Clin Immunol 94: 1135–1141.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rosenthal S, Schwartz JH, Canellos GP (1977) Basophilic chronic granulocytic leukemia with hyperhistaminaemia. Br J Haematol 36: 367–372.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Iliopoulos O, Baroody FM, Naclerio RM, Bochner BS, Kagey-Sobotka A, Lichtenstein LM (1992) Histamine-containing cells obtained from the nose hours after antigen challenge have functional and phenotypic characteristics of basophils. J Immunol 148: 2223–2228.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Guo CB, Liu MC, Galli SJ, Bochner BS, Kagey-Sobotka A, Lichtenstein LM (1994) Identification of IgE-bearing cells in the late-phase response to antigen in the lung as basophils. Am. J Respir Cell Mol Biol 10: 384–390.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Springer TA (1990) Adhesion receptors of the immune system. Nature 346: 425–434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Stain C, Stockinger H, Scharf M, Jäger U, Gössinger H, Lechner K, Bettelheim P (1987) Human blood basophils display a unique phenotype including activation linked membrane structures. Blood 70: 1872–1879.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Bochner BS, McKelvey AA, Sterbinsky SA, Hildreth JEK, Derse CP, Klunk DA, Lichtenstein LM, Schleimer RP (1990) Il-3 augments adhesiveness for endothelium and CD11b expression in human basophils but not neutrophils. J Immunol 145: 1832–1837.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Bochner BS, Sterbinsky SA, Knol EF, Katz BJ, Lichtenstein LM, MacGlashan DW, Schleimer RP (1994) Function and expression of adhesion molecules on human basophils. J Allergy Clin Immunol 94: 1157–1162.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Valent P, Bettelheim P (1992) Cell surface structures on human basophils and mast cells: biochemical and functional characterization. Adv Immunol 52: 333–423.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Valent P, Majdic O, Maurer D, Bodger M, Muhm M, Bettelheim P (1990) Further characterization of surface membrane structures expressed on human basophils and mast cells. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol 91: 198–203.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hirai K, Morita Y, Misaki Y, Ohta K, Takaishi T, Suzuki S, Motoyoshi K, Miyamoto T (1988) Modulation of human basophil histamine release by hemopoietic growth factors. J Immunol 14: 3958–3964.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Valent P, Besemer J, Muhm M, Majdic O, Lechner K, Bettelheim P (1989) Interleukin 3 activates human blood basophils via high affinity binding sites. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 86: 5542–5546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Schleimer RP, Derse CP, Friedman B, Gillis S, Plaut M, Lichtenstein LM, MacGlashan DW (1989) Regulation of human basophil mediator release by cytokines. J Immunol 143: 1310–1317.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Kurimoto A, De Weck AL, Dahinden CA (1989) Interleukin 3-dependent mediator release in basophils triggered by C5a. J Exp Med 170: 467–479.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Bischoff SC, Dahinden CA (1992) Effect of nerve growth factor on the release of inflammatory mediators by mature human basophils. Blood 79: 2662–2669.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hirai K, Miyamasu M, Yamaguchi M, Nakajima K, Ohtoshi T, Koshino T, Takaishi T, Morita Y, Ito K (1993) Modulation of human basophil histamine release by insuline-like growth factors. J Immunol 150: 1503–1508.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Ida S, Hooks JJ, Siraganian RP, Notkins AL (1977) Enhancement of IgE-mediated histamine release from human basophils by viruses: role of interferon. J Exp Med 145: 892–906.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Hernandez-Asensio M, Hooks JJ, Ida S, Siraganian RP, Notkins AL (1979) Interferon induced enhancement of IgE-mediated histamine release from human basophils requires RNA synthesis. J Immunol 122: 1601–1603.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Haak-Frendscho M, Arai N, Arai K, Baeza ML, Finn A, Kaplan AP (1988) Human recombinant granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor and interleukin 3 cause basophil histamine release. J Clin Invest 82: 17–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Dahinden CA, Kurimoto Y, de Weck AL, Lindley I, Dewald B, Baggiolini M (1989) The neutrophilactivating peptide NAF/NAP-1 induces histamine and leukotriene release by interleukin 3-primed basophils. J Exp Med 170: 1787–1792.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Krieger M, Brunner T, Bischoff SC, Tscharner V, Walz A, Moser B, Baggiolini M, Dahinden CA (1992) Activation of human basophils through the IL-8 receptor. J Immunol 149: 2662–2667.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kuna P, Reddigari SR, Schall TJ, Rucinski D, Sadick M, Kaplan AP (1993) Characterization of the human basophil response to cytokines, growth factors, and histamine releasing factors of the intercrine/chemokine family. J Immunol 150: 1932–1943.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Bischoff SC, Krieger M, Brunner T, Dahinden CA (1992) Monocyte chemotactic protein 1 is a potent activator of human basophils. J Exp Med 175: 1271–1275.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Alam R, Lett-Brown MA, Forsythe PA, Anderson-Walters DJ, Kenamore C, Kormos C, Grant JA (1992) Monocyte chemotactic and activating factor is a potent histamine-releasing factor for basophils. J Clin Invest 89: 723–728.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Alam R, Forsythe PA, Stafford S, Lett-Brown MA, Grant JA (1992) Macrophage inflammatory protein-la activates basophils and mast cells. J Exp Med 176: 781–786.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Bischoff SC, Krieger M, Brunner T, Rot A, vonTscharner V, Baggiolini M, Dahinden CA (1993) RANTES and related chemokines activate human basophil granulocytes through different G protein-coupled receptors. Eur J Immunol 23: 761–767.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Geiser T, Dewald B, Ehrengruber MU, Clark-Lewis I, Baggiolini M (1993) The interleukin-8-related chemotactic cytokines GROa, GRO 3, and GROy activate human neutrophil and basophil leukocytes. J Biol Chem 268:15, 419–15, 424.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Columbo M, Horowitz EM, Botana LM, MacGlashan DW, Bochner BS, Gillis S, Zsebo KM, Galli SJ, Lichtenstein LM (1992) The human recombinant c-kit receptor ligand, rhSCF, induces mediator release from human cutaneous mast cells and enhances IgE-dependent mediator release from both skin mast cells and peripheral blood basophils. J Immunol 149: 599–608.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Stockinger H, Valent P, Majdic O, Bettelheim P, Knapp W (1990) Human blood basophils synthesize interleukin-2 binding sites. Blood 75: 1820–1826.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Valent P, Besemer J, Kishi K, diPadova F, Geissler K, Bettelheim P (1990) Human basophils express interleukin-4 receptors. Blood 76: 1734–1738.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Lopez AF, Lyons AB, Eglinton JM, Park LS, To LB, Clark SC, Vadas MA (1990) Specific binding of human interleukin-3 and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor to human basophils. J Allergy Clin Immunol 85: 99–102.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Lopez AF, Eglinton, JM, Lyons AB, Tapley PM, To LB, Park LS, Clark SC, Vadas MA (1990) Human interleukin-3 inhibits the binding of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor and interleukin-5 to basophils and strongly enhances their functional activity. J Cell Physiol 145: 69–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    MacGlashan DW, White JM, Huang SK, Ono SJ, Schroeder JT, Lichtenstein LM (1994) Secretion of IL-4 from human basophils. J Immunol 152: 3006–3016.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Brunner T, Heusser CH, Dahinden CA (1993) Human peripheral blood basophils primed by interleukin 3 (IL-3) produce IL-4 in response to immunoglobulin E receptor stimulation. J Exp Med 177: 605–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Ochensberger B, Rihs S, Brunner T, Dahinden C (1995) IgE-independent interleukin-4 expression and induction of a late phase of leukotriene C4 formation in human blood basophils. Blood 86: 4039–4049.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Paul WE (1991) Interleukin-4 A prototypic immunoregulatory lymphokine. Blood 77: 1859–1870.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Schleimer RP, Lichtenstein LM, Gillespie E (1981) Inhibition of basophil histamine release by anti-inflammatory steroids. Nature 292: 454–455.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Yamaguchi M, Hirai K, Nakajima K, Ohtoshi T, Takaishi T, Ohta K, Morita Y, Ito K (1994) Dexamethasone inhibits basophil migration. Allergy 49: 371–375.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Charlesworth EN, Kagey-Sobotka A, Schleimer RP, Norman PS, Lichtenstein LM (1991) Prednisone inhibits the appearance of inflammatory mediators and the influx of eosinophils and basophils associated with the cutaneous late-phase response to allergen. J Immunol 146: 671–676.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    de Paulis A, Cirillo R, Ciccarelli A, Condorelli M, Marone G (1991) FK-506, a potent novel inhibitor of the release of proinflammatory mediators from human FcERI+ cells. J Immunol 146: 2374–2381.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Cirillo R, Triggiani M, Siri L, Ciccarelli A, Pettit GR, Condorelli M, Marone G (1990) Cyclosporin A rapidly inhibits mediator release from human basophils presumably by interacting with cyclophilin. J Immunol 144: 3891–3897.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Casolaro V, Spadaro G, Patella V, Marone G (1993) In vivo characterization of the anti-inflammatory effect of cyclosporin A on human basophils. J Immunol 151: 5563–5573.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Valent

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations