Basophils account for only 0.1-1% of all peripheral blood leukocytes. They were considered to be a redundant cell type for a long time. However, several findings show a non-redundant role for basophils in type 2 T-helper cell (Th2) immune responses in helminth infections, allergy and autoimmunity. Both immunoglobulin-E-dependent and -independent pathways have been described to contribute to basophil activation. In addition, several recent studies reported that basophils can function as antigen-presenting cells and are important in the initiation of Th2 immune responses. However, there are also conflicting studies that do not corroborate the importance of basophils in Th2 immune responses. This review discusses the role of basophils in Th2 immune responses in view of these recent findings. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel.
- antigen presentation
- antigen-presenting cells/immunology
- cell differentiation
- immunoglobulin E/immunology
- th2 Cells/immunology