Background Although it has been shown that basophils from patients with chronic ordinary urticaria (CU) are less responsive than normal basophils when stimulated with anti-IgE, very few studies have examined the response of those cells to alternative stimuli.
Objective To compare releasability between basophils from healthy donors and patients with CU.
Methods We examined the response of IL-3-treated basophils from healthy donors, atopic controls and CU patients to anti-IgE, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), bradykinin, C5a and to sera obtained from other urticaria patients and normal controls. We also compared the response of basophils from CU patients whose sera activate normal basophils (autoimmune CU) from those who do not (idiopathic CU).
Results Basophils of CU patients release significantly less histamine than basophils of normal controls when stimulated with anti-IgE, and to a lesser degree with C5a. No differences were observed when basophils from patients were incubated with Bradykinin or MCP-1. However, when basophils of CU patients were incubated with sera from other CU patients or even normal sera, we found significantly higher histamine release compared with the response of basophils from normal donors. We could not distinguish responsiveness of basophils of patients with chronic autoimmune urticaria from patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria.
Conclusion Basophils of patients with chronic idiopathic urticaria and chronic autoimmune urticaria are hypo-responsive to anti-IgE and C5a, normally responsive to MCP-1 or bradykinin, and hyper-responsive to serum. The serum factor to which a response has not yet been identified; however, basophils of patients with chronic urticaria, in general, appear to have abnormal regulation of signaling pathways.