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J Exp Med. 2004 Aug 16;200(4):507-17.

Basophils produce IL-4 and accumulate in tissues after infection with a Th2-inducing parasite.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Dr., Bldg. 10, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Using mice in which the eGfp gene replaced the first exon of the Il4 gene (G4 mice), we examined production of interleukin (IL)-4 during infection by the intestinal nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (Nb). Nb infection induced green fluorescent protein (GFP)pos cells that were FcepsilonRIpos, CD49bbright, c-kitneg, and Gr1neg. These cells had lobulated nuclei and granules characteristic of basophils. They were found mainly in the liver and lung, to a lesser degree in the spleen, but not in the lymph nodes. Although some liver basophils from naive mice express GFP, Nb infection enhanced GFP expression and increased the number of tissue basophils. Similar basophil GFP expression was found in infected Stat6-/- mice. Basophils did not increase in number in infected Rag2-/- mice; Rag2-/- mice reconstituted with CD4 T cells allowed significant basophil accumulation, indicating that CD4 T cells can direct both tissue migration of basophils and enhanced IL-4 production. IL-4 production was immunoglobulin independent and only partially dependent on IL-3. Thus, infection with a parasite that induces a "Th2-type response" resulted in accumulation of tissue basophils, and these cells, stimulated by a non-FcR cross-linking mechanism, are a principal source of in vivo IL-4 production.

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