Altered surface expression of CD11 and Leu 8 during human basophil degranulation

Bruce S. Bochner*, Sherry A. Sterbinsky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Immunofluorescence and flow cytometric techniques have been used to study changes in surface Ag expression and viability that occur during human basophil degranulation. Treatment with polyclonal anti-IgE, FMLP, or the calcium ionophore A23187 induced histamine release, along with rapid and sustained unimodal increases in basophil CD11b mean fluorescence intensity. In contrast, treatment with anti-IgE or FMLP resulted in a decrease in Leu 8 expression. Degranulation did not significantly affect basophil viability (as determined by exclusion of propidium iodide), scatter characteristics, or percentage of identifiable IgE-bearing cells, and an inconsistent association was seen between percent histamine release and reduction in the percent of cells identified by light microscopy after staining with alcian blue. For anti-IgE, dose-dependent changes in CD11b, CD11c, and Leu 8 expression were seen (optimal at 0.1, 0.1, and 1 μg/ ml, respectively), although CD11a expression remained unchanged. Histamine release was optimal at 0.3 μg/ml anti-IgE, and at superoptimal concentrations, reduced CD11b expression was observed which paralleled decreases in histamine release; reduction of the expression of Leu 8, however, occurred equally at optimal and superoptimal concentrations of anti-IgE. Kinetic analyses of these responses revealed that CD11b up-regulation proceeded more rapidly than histamine release, whereas Leu 8 down-regulation was much slower and did not plateau until 120 min of stimulation. Although changes in CD11b mean fluorescence intensity correlated with the magnitude of histamine release, exposure to stimuli in the absence of calcium (which blocked degranulation) resulted in similar alterations in CD11b and Leu 8, suggesting that degranulation was not required for changes in the surface expression of these adhesion molecules. Interestingly, pretreatment of basophils with drugs that either inhibited or enhanced histamine release (isobutylmethylxanthine and cyclosporin A vs cytochalasin B, respectively) significantly decreased the magnitude of anti-IgE-induced CD11b up-regulation; down-regulation of Leu 8 expression was also partially inhibited by treatment with isobutylmethylxanthine. These studies demonstrate that activation of human basophils by secretagogues in vitro results in a variety of phenotypic changes including alterations in surface expression of adhesion molecules, and suggest that degranulation in vivo may be accompanied or preceded by changes in adhesion-related functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2367-2373
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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