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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2006;141(4):346-53. Epub 2006 Aug 29.

Basophil interleukin 4 and interleukin 13 production is suppressed during the early phase of rush immunotherapy.

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  • 1Asthma and Allergy Research Group, Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Goteborg, Sweden.



Studies using rush immunotherapy (RIT) have shown that rapid protection can be achieved using protocols allowing a fast increment of allergen dose. We examined the early effects of RIT on basophil numbers and expression of CD203c, production of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 and histamine release by basophils in the peripheral blood of patients treated with immunotherapy and controls.


Twelve patients treated with RIT and 4 untreated controls were included in the study. Any adverse events were evaluated during the incremental phase of RIT. Mononuclear cells were isolated before the start of RIT and 3 days, 1 week, 4 weeks and 3 months after the beginning of the treatment. Histamine release upon allergen stimulation, expression of CD203c and allergen-induced production of IL-4 and IL-13 by basophils were examined.


Significant decreases in blood basophil count (p = 0.02) were observed early in the treatment, returning to baseline values 1 week after the start of RIT. Similarly, histamine release decreased at day 3 (p = 0.02), but returned to pretreatment levels after 1 week. Also, the percentage of IL-4+ and IL-13+ basophils and levels of CD203c expression were markedly reduced early in the treatment. IL-4 and IL-13 production correlated with histamine release and CD203c expression. Histamine release and production of IL-4 and IL-13 by basophils before the treatment correlated with the severity of adverse events during the incremental phase of RIT.


We report the decrease in blood basophil numbers, their lower activation status and the reduced production of IL-4 and IL-13 early in the course of RIT. This early suppression of basophil activation could be one mechanism behind the protective effect of RIT.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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