Short-term venom immunotherapy induces desensitization of FcεRI-mediated basophil response


  • Edited by: Hans-Uwe Simon


Assoc. Prof. Peter Korošec, Laboratory for Clinical Immunology & Molecular Genetics, University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik, Golnik 36, 4204 Golnik, Slovenia.

Tel.: +386 4 256 9432

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The precise immunological mechanisms for the early clinical protection of venom immunotherapy (VIT) have not yet been explained. Our aim was to evaluate whether high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) and the related basophil function have a role in the induction of short-term VIT protection.


We included 60 adults and 48 children. Basophil threshold sensitivity (CD-sens) to anti-FcεRI stimulation, and FcεRI gene and cell-surface expression were assessed at the beginning and just before the first maintenance dose (MD) of 100 μg of ultra-rush VIT (day 5) and at the beginning, during buildup, and just before the first MD of 70 μg and of 100 μg of semi-rush VIT (weeks 1–2 and 5).


We demonstrated a significant reduction in CD-sens to anti-FcεRI stimulation before the first MD in both ultra-rush and semi-rush VIT in all included subjects. FcεRI gene and/or cell-surface expression was decreased in 34–100% of subjects, with different dynamics between VIT protocols.


We found a marked desensitization of FcεRI-activated basophils after short-term VIT. This suppression, which could be highly relevant for the development of early protective mechanisms, might be also related to the changes at the level of FcεRI expression.