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Basophils are not the key antigen-presenting cells in allergic patients


  • Edited by: Thomas Bieber


Julia Eckl-Dorna, MD, PhD, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Medical University of Vienna, AKH, Waehringer Gürtel 18–20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.

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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.


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.


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.


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.