Basophils are granulocytes which are important sources of histamine and other pro-inflammatory mediators. Recent evidence suggests that basophils, despite their relative rarity compared to other immune cells, play a crucial immunomodulatory role in allergies and other diseases by supporting underlying Th2-type immune responses. The aims of this project are to assess the effects of either IgE-dependent (e.g. anti-IgE) or IgE-independent (e.g. fMLP) stimuli on the differential release of histamine from purified human basophils. These studies will involve learning the procedures for isolating basophils by Ficoll-density centrifugation and purification by immunomagnetic selection from human blood, as well as various experimental setups and determining histamine releases using spectrofluorometric autoanalysis. The project is expected to give students a comprehensive insight into immune cell isolation and studying allergic pro-inflammatory cell responses as well as basic skills in data analysis and literature reviews.
Lit. Falcone FH, Knol EF, Gibbs BF. The role of basophils in the pathogenesis of allergic disease. Clin Exp Allergy. 2011 Jul;41(7):939-47
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