Basophils are of interest in immunology due to their ability to produce a Th2-signature cytokine, IL-4, following activation. A new understanding of the role of basophils in immunity shows novel functions at a cellular level through which basophils influence adaptive immunity. This review summarizes new advances in basophil biology and discusses new roles for basophils in human disease, especially in the mediation of the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis. Recently, basophils have been shown to contribute to self-reactive Ab production in systemic lupus erythematosus and may enhance pre-existing loss of B cell tolerance, suggesting that basophils, IL-4, and IgE mediate the pathogenesis of lupus nephritis by promoting the Th2 environment and activating autoreactive B cells. In addition to envisaging exciting therapeutic prospects, these novel findings open the way for the study of basophils in other autoimmune and renal diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy