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Keywords:

  • allergen;
  • allergy;
  • antigen-presenting cells;
  • basophils;
  • Bet v 1;
  • Th2

Abstract

Background

Recent data obtained in mouse models have initiated a controversy whether basophils are the key antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in allergy. Here, we investigate whether basophils are of importance for the presentation of allergen and the induction of T cell proliferation in allergic patients.

Methods

T cells, basophils, and APCs depleted of basophils were purified from allergic patients. Co-culture systems based on purified major allergens were established to study allergen-specific T cell responses using proliferation assays.

Results

Only co-cultures of T cells with APCs depleted of basophils but not with basophils proliferated in response to allergen. Even addition of IL-3 to T cell–basophil co-cultures failed to induce allergen-specific T cell proliferation.

Conclusions

Our data demonstrate by classical in vitro proliferation assays that basophils are not key antigen-presenting cells that promote T cell proliferation in secondary immune responses to allergen in allergic patients.