Characteristics of human basophil sulfidopeptide leukotriene release: Releasability defined as the ability of the basophil to respond to dimeric cross-links

D. W. MacGlashan, S. P. Peters, J. Warner, L. M. Lichtenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human basophils release approximately 90 pmol of LTC4/μg histamine when challenged with anti-IgE antibody, but donor to donor variation produces a 1000-fold range of response. There is little conversion to LTC4 to LTE4 in purified preparations of basophils, but conversion to LTE4 does occur if cell densities are high during incubation. Like histamine release, leukotriene release is calcium and temperature dependent and is complete in 20 min, with a t( 1/2 ) of approximately 8 min. The process of desensitization also ablates leukotriene release, but there is a distinct two phase process where leukotriene release is enhanced after 5 min of desensitization, whereas histamine release is inhibited and total ablation of leukotriene relase occurs only after 45 min of desensitization. Human basophils respond well to stimulation with covalently cross-linked trimeric IgE myeloma but respond poorly to dimeric IgE. This differential sensitivity to the two forms of cross-linked IgE is most exaggerated in the context of leukotriene release, where dimer is 30-fold less efficacious and 100- to 1000-fold less potent than trimer on some donors' basophils. This dichotomy of response is also observed in antigen-challenged cells, where the bivalent hapten, BPO2, also poorly induces leukotriene release in accord with the fact that it predominantly induces dimeric cross-links of penicillin-specific IgE. Anti-IgE dose-response curves reveal a region of dimeric cross-link dominance that may explain the peculiar differences observed in pharmacologic studies of basophil release induced with antigen vs anti-IgE. In addition, there is a continuum of 'releasability', where some donors' basophils display no response (histamine or leukotriene release) to dimeric IgE, and others' basophils are essentially equally responsive to both dimeric and trimeric IgE. This releasability difference manifests itself by conferring increased sensitivity to antigenic challenge in those donors' basophils capable of responding to dimeric cross-links such that these donors' basophils are capable of releasing histamine upon antigen challenge while possessing only 50 molecules of cell surface antigen-specific IgE; other dimer-insensitive donors' basophils require 6 to 10-fold greater IgE densities for equal histamine release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2231-2239
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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