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Nat Immunol. 2008 Jul;9(7):733-42. doi: 10.1038/ni.1621. Epub 2008 May 30.

Basophils enhance immunological memory responses.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Regensburg, 93042 Regensburg, Germany.


The cellular basis of immunological memory remains a controversial issue. Here we show that basophils bound large amounts of intact antigens on their surface and were the main source of interleukins 6 and 4 in the spleen and bone marrow after restimulation with a soluble antigen. Depletion of basophils resulted in a much lower humoral memory response and greater susceptibility of immunized mice to sepsis induced by Streptococcus pneumoniae. Adoptive transfer of antigen-reactive basophils significantly increased specific antibody production, and activated basophils, together with CD4(+) T cells, profoundly enhanced B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production. These basophil-dependent effects on B cells required interleukins 6 and 4 and increased the capacity of CD4(+) T cells to provide B cell help. Thus, basophils are important contributors to humoral memory immune responses.

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