Basophils are key effector cells in allergic inflammatory reactions. However, the mechanisms of FcεRI-induced degranulation are complex and remain to be disentangled. Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) molecules modulate various cell functions. STAT5 appears to be essential for IgE-mediated mast cell function, but its role in human basophils after cross-linking FcεRI is unknown. In this study, STAT5 phosphorylation was investigated by flow cytometry, and combined with analyses of the degranulation marker CD63 at single cell level. Kinetics of STAT5 phosphorylation were studied in basophils of birch pollen allergic patients and showed a fast phosphorylation induced by interleukin (IL)-3, but not with antigen alone. Stimulating basophils with a mixture of allergen and IL-3 resulted in a two to three fold higher phosphorylation of STAT5 than induced by IL-3 alone. In the presence of IL-3, antigen elicited a dose-dependent STAT5 response. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that STAT5 in human basophils is activated through both the IL-3 and the FcεRI signaling pathway.
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