Basophil Activation Antigens: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Implications

Peter Valent*
Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University of Vienna & Ludwig Boltzmann Cluster Oncology Vienna, Austria.

© 2010 Peter Valent;

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, Medical University of Vienna, Wahringer Gurtel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria; Tel: 431404006085; Fax: 431404004030; E-mail:


Basophil activation is a key finding in allergic reactions and also observed quite frequently in infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. In allergic reactions, basophil-derived mediators such as histamine, contribute essentially to clinical symptoms. During IgE-dependent degranulation of basophils, a number of cell surface membrane and cytoplasmic molecules become activated, show altered expression, or are translocated into the cell surface. Although little is known so far about the exact role of these activation-linked cell surface antigens, several of them are employed as diagnostic parameters in allergic disorders. Other molecules are involved in the process of signalling and the consecutive release of pro-allergic mediators, and have therefore been proposed as potential targets of therapy. The current article provides a summary on activation-linked cell surface and cytoplasmic antigens in basophils, with special reference to potential mechanisms underlying re-translocation or over-expression in activated cells, relevant signalling pathways, and clinical implications.

Keywords: Basophils, surface antigens, IgE-receptor, IL-3, IL-33, CD63, CD203c.