Basophil activation tests (BATs) have been demonstrated to be useful in detecting IgE-mediated sensitization by measuring basophil activation surface markers (CD63 and CD203c). Hymenoptera venom is one of the best known mediators-release trigger in patients with systemic mastocytosis (SM). The aim of this study was to investigate the use of BATs as an additional diagnostic tool in patients with mastocytosis suffering from hymenoptera venom anaphylaxis (HVA).
A total of 22 patients with history of HVA and SM, together with a group of 11 patients with HVA in whom SM was ruled out after a complete bone marrow study, were analyzed.
Among 11 SM patients who had specific serum IgE (sIgE) against hymenoptera venom and an evaluable BAT, a positive BAT was found in nine. Additionally, a positive BAT was detected in three of seven patients who had no sIgE. These three patients had low levels of total IgE compared with control population (mean of 20 vs. 78 IU/mL); one had discontinued immunotherapy after 5 years, when sIgE levels had turned negative, and, in the other two patients, BAT identified the culprit insect.
BAT is a useful complementary diagnostic tool to sIgE in mastocytosis patients with HVA, and it may contribute to predict or confirm these nearly fatal reactions, especially before discontinuing venom immunotherapy in patients who are negative for skin tests or sIgE or display low total IgE levels; in such cases, it also provides evidence on the culprit insect prompting HVA. © 2010 International Clinical Cytometry Society