Basophils and their effector molecules in allergic disorders

Allergy. 2021 Jun;76(6):1693-1706. doi: 10.1111/all.14662. Epub 2020 Nov 29.


Basophils are the rarest granulocytes which represent <1% of peripheral blood leukocytes. Basophils bear several phenotypic similarities to tissue-resident mast cells and therefore had been erroneously considered as blood-circulating mast cells. However, recent researches have revealed that basophils play nonredundant roles in allergic inflammation, protective immunity against parasitic infections and regulation of innate and acquired immunity. Basophils are recruited to inflamed tissues and activated in an IgE-dependent or IgE-independent manner to release a variety of effector molecules. Such molecules, including IL-4, act on various types of cells and play versatile roles, including the induction and termination of allergic inflammation and the regulation of immune responses. Recent development of novel therapeutic agents has enabled us to gain further insights into basophil biology in human disorders. In this review, we highlight the recent advances in the field of basophil biology with a particular focus on the role of basophils in allergic inflammation. Further studies on basophils and their effector molecules will help us identify novel therapeutic targets for treating allergic disorders.

Keywords: IL-4; IgE; allergy; basophil.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basophils
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity*
  • Inflammation
  • Mast Cells
  • Parasitic Diseases*