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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2008;146 Suppl 1:47-53. doi: 10.1159/000126061. Epub 2008 May 27.

Allergen-induced basophil CD203c expression as a biomarker for rush immunotherapy in patients with Japanese cedar pollinosis.

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  • 1Institute for Clinical Research, Mie National Hospital, Mie, Japan.



Rush immunotherapy (RIT) can confer rapid clinical benefit on patients with allergic rhinitis or asthma. However, biomarkers representing mechanisms for the efficacy of RIT are still to be established. CD203c is a basophil activation marker known to be upregulated by cross-linking of the FcepsilonRIalpha receptor and may serve as a useful marker.


We sought to investigate the changes in allergen-induced CD203c expression in patients with Japanese cedar pollen (JCP) pollinosis who received RIT.


Nine patients treated with RIT were enrolled in the study. Whole blood was incubated with various concentrations of JCP extract. CD203c expression on basophils was quantitated by means of flow cytometry. JCP-specific IgG4 levels in sera were measured with ELISA. Basophil histamine release, CAP-RAST to JCP (JCP-IgE) and total IgE were also examined. The biomarkers listed above were evaluated before and sequentially after RIT. Symptom and quality of life scores were obtained during pre- and posttreatment pollen seasons.


All patients showed significant improvement in symptom and quality of life scores after RIT. Serum JCP-specific IgG4 titers were significantly elevated at 1 month and remained at high levels 12 months after the treatment. Stimulation with JCP extract induced enhancement of basophil CD203c expression in a concentration-dependent manner except for 2 subjects in whom no increase in CD203c by an anti-IgE antibody was observed (nonresponders). Significant reductions in the responses were observed in 4 subjects after RIT (reduction in CD203c expression, RCE) whereas no changes were seen in 3 subjects (non-RCE). RCE subjects were older than non-RCE counterparts, with mean ages of 20 and 12 years, respectively. No significant changes in JCP-specific IgE and total IgE levels were seen before and after RIT.


Allergen-induced CD203c expression in basophils may represent, at least in part, the cellular mechanism for the therapeutic responses to RIT for JCP pollinosis. However, further larger-scale studies to confirm the utility of the test are necessary.

Copyright 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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