The history of mast cell and basophil research – some lessons learnt from the last century

  title={The history of mast cell and basophil research – some lessons learnt from the last century},
  author={Ulrich Blank and Franco H Falcone and Gunnar P Nilsson},
  pages={1093 - 1101}
This year (2013) marks the 50th anniversary of death of Otto Carl Willy Prausnitz (1876–1963) and Heinz Küstner (1897–1963). The two physicians, when working at the Hygiene Institute at the University of Breslau, Germany (Prausnitz was the Head of the Institute), described in 1921 what is still called today the Prausnitz–Küstner or PK reaction showing that allergy could be transferred from the allergic person by transferring serum to a healthy person. Their discovery ended the belief that an… 

The Evolution of Human Basophil Biology from Neglect towards Understanding of Their Immune Functions

This review highlights the modern view on basophil biology and finds evidence that basophils share features of innate and adaptive immunity during the past decade.

Mast cell disorders: From infancy to maturity

This review looks beyond this narrow role, focusing on how mast cells have evolved and diversified via natural selection promoting serine protease gene duplication, augmenting their innate host defense function against helminths and snake envenomation.

The roles of mast cells in allergic inflammation and mast cell-related disorders

The biochemical characteristics of mast cells and the role ofmast cells in al-lergic inflammation, as well as the classification, diagnosis, and management of mast cell-related disorders, will be reviewed.

Biologics as novel therapeutics for the treatment of allergy: Challenges and opportunities

Recent advances in the use of biologics to treat severe allergy are discussed and highlighted, highlighting the key challenges but also the significant opportunities and advances to date.

IgE and Mast Cells: The Endogenous Adjuvant.

Helminth Allergens, Parasite-Specific IgE, and Its Protective Role in Human Immunity

Comparing dominant IgE-antigens in worms with clinically important environmental allergens is compared and it is suggested that arrays of such molecules will provide important information on anti-worm immunity as well as allergy.

BH3 mimetics efficiently induce apoptosis in mouse basophils and mast cells

The results indicate that by choosing the right combination of BH3 mimetic compounds, basophils and mast cells can be efficiently killed, even after stimulation with potent pro-survival cytokines such as interleukin-3.

Harnessing the Power of Mast Cells in unconventional Immunotherapy Strategies and Vaccine Adjuvants

This review will examine how certain strategies that specifically target and activate mast cells can be used to treat and resolve infections, augment vaccines and heal wounds.



Basophils: new players in the cytokine network.

Basophils contribute to immunoglobulin synthesis and class switching, angiogenesis, autoimmunity, tumor immunity and hematopoiesis by producing cytokines such as IL-6, VEGF, GM-CSF and IL-3, and it has been established that they can present antigens to CD4+ or CD8+ T cells in an MHC class II- or class I-dependent manner.

The presence of histamine in tissue mast cells

Evidence that substantial amounts of histamine are contained in, and can be released by, tissue mast cells is presented in this paper, and that for certain tissues a good correlation between the histamine content and the heparin content is found.

Basophils Protect against Reinfection with Hookworms Independently of Mast Cells and Memory Th2 Cells

It is concluded that basophils play a crucial role for worm expulsion during a memory type 2 immune response independently of mast cells and memory Th2 cells.

The Effect of Bacterial, Viral and Fungal Infection on Mast Cell Reactivity in the Allergic Setting

With new developments within the field of mast cell biology, the authors will better understand how mast cells execute their effector functions and this knowledge will help to improve the management of allergic diseases.


It is suggested the necessity of including, in the routine examination of a prospective donor for blood transfusion, questions relative to the various anaphylactic manifestations, in actual practice.

Expulsion of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis by mice deficient in mast cells

The data presented below indicate that in the absence of demonstrable mast cells, the course of a primary infection with this parasite is unchanged; however, they are supportive of a role for goblet cells in the self-cure reaction.


It has been found that the formation of anaphylatoxin, as judged by its effect on capillary permeability and smooth muscle contraction, is coincident with or subsequent to the fixation of all the known C' components.

The release of histamine and formation of a slow‐reacting substance (SRS‐A) during anaphylactic shock

The experiments presented in the present paper show that in addition to the release of histamine, the antigen-antibody reaction results in the formation of another smooth muscle-stimulating substance which causes a slow and long-lasting contraction of the guinea-pig ileum, and which is resistant to anti-histamine drugs.

Mast cell proteases: multifaceted regulators of inflammatory disease.

MC proteases may account for many of the effects ascribed to MCs and are currently emerging as promising candidates for treatment of MC-driven disease, according to a review of the findings.