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Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2003 Nov;49(7):1125-35.

Characterization and function of the multifaceted peripheral blood basophil.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Howard University, 415 College Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059, USA.


Basophils are derived from metachromatic hematopoietic precursor cells of myeloid origin. The basophilic granulocyte differentiates and matures in the bone marrow, circulates in the peripheral blood, and upon proper stimulation, migrates into the tissues. Peripheral blood basophils act as chief effector cells of the allergic response and as purveyors of various allergy-associated mediators. Under appropriate conditions, basophils can be induced to release their mediators into the extracellular space of tissues or blood of the host organism. The plasma membrane of basophils contains receptors for immunoglobulin E (IgE) homocytotropic antibody which exhibits high affinity for these granulocytes and their Fc epsilon receptors. IgE cytophilic antibody binds antigen at its Fab portion. When bound to the basophil plasma membrane, the antigen-antibody complex undergoes multivalent interactions, which create crosslinking of the Fc epsilon receptors on the basophil plasma membrane. This receptor cross-linking results in basophil degranulation and subsequent release of its pharmacologically active substances. The basophil exhibits considerable heterogeneity and is characterized as Type I, II, III, IV, V and VI based upon granule content and time of antigen stimulation. Evidence is presented showing the role of the basophil in hyperplasia, hypersensitivity, parasitic infections and other diseases.

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