• Basophil;
  • Interleukin-4;
  • Interleukin-13;
  • Histamine;
  • Allergy


Recent studies have shown that human basophils, like mast cells, generate interleukin (IL)-4 following immunological activation and may thus participate in late-phase allergic and inflammatory processes. Here, we report the capacity of human basophils to release IL-13 within 24 h following stimulation with anti-IgE. Additionally, in 14 out of 31 experiments, we observed that basophils rapidly release preformed IL-4 within 5–10 min, as well as newly generated IL-4, which was released 4 h following stimulation of the cells with anti-IgE. In contrast to the biphasic release of IL-4 from the cells, no preformed IL-13 was detected at earlier times (5–30 min). Preformed IL-4 and IL-4 and IL-13 generated de novo were also released after stimulation of the cells with IL-3; an enhanced production of these cytokines was observed using a combination of IL-3 and anti-IgE. We conclude from these data that, by releasing preformed IL-4 and IL-4 and IL-13 generated de novo, human basophils may be centrally involved in the orchestration of allergic inflammation by providing a trigger to IL-4-mediated T helper 2 lymphocyte activation, B cell IgE switching, and increased vascular adhesion molecule expression.