Blood Journal
Leading the way in experimental and clinical research in hematology

Human blood basophils display a unique phenotype including activation linked membrane structures

  1. C Stain,
  2. H Stockinger,
  3. M Scharf,
  4. U Jager,
  5. H Gossinger,
  6. K Lechner, and
  7. P Bettelheim
  1. I. Medical Department, University of Vienna, Austria.


To evaluate the membrane marker profile of human basophils a panel of well-established monoclonal antibodies (MoAbs, n = 60) was used for a combined toluidine/immunofluorescence staining procedure. Myeloid- associated MoAbs (particularly MoAbs against the LFA-1 family (CD11, CDw18), MoAbs directed against lactosylceramide (CDw17), anti- glycoprotein (gp) 150 MoAbs MCS 2 and MY 7 (CDw13), anti-gp 67 MoAb MY 9, anti Fc gamma-receptor (mol wt 40 kd) MoAb CIKM5, anti-CR 1 MoAb E 11, and the antiglycolipid MoAb VIM-2) were reactive with basophils, indicating a close relationship to other mature myeloid cells. Under normal conditions, basophils surprisingly express at least three activation-linked structures not detectable on mature neutrophils, ie, the p45 structure defined by MoAbs OKT-10 and VIP-2b, the p24 structure identified by the CD9 MoAb BA-2, and the receptor for interleukin 2 (IL 2) recognized by three different MoAbs (anti-TAC, IL2RI, anti-IL 2). Moreover, under short-term culture conditions basophils both in mononuclear cell (MNC) suspension and as purified fractions display the HLA-DR and T4 antigens. The neutrophilic/eosinophilic structure 3- fucosyl-N-acetyllactosamine is expressed on basophils only after neuraminidase treatment. Basophils were not stained at all by CD 16 MoAbs directed against the Fc gamma-receptor (mol wt 50 to 70 kd) of neutrophils, by the MoAb 63D3 (CDw12) recognizing the monocyte/granulocyte-associated p 200 antigen, and by the CDw 14 antibodies (VIM-13, Mo 2) defining the monocyte-specific structure p 55. Enriched basophils freshly obtained from chronic granulocytic leukemia (CGL) patients yielded identical results in FACS analyses. In summary, these data indicate that basophils generate a unique combination of surface determinants and possibly represent an activated cell population.