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Vol. 133, No. 4, 2004
Issue release date: April 2004
Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2004;133:317–329

The Basophil-Specific Ectoenzyme E-NPP3 (CD203c) as a Marker for Cell Activation and Allergy Diagnosis

Bühring H.-J. · Streble A. · Valent P.
aDepartment of Internal Medicine II, Division of Hematology, Immunology and Oncology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany; bDepartment of Internal Medicine I, Division of Hematology and Hemostaseology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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Basophils are effector cells of allergic reactions. These cells produce and store a number of vasoactive and immunomodulatory mediators. During an allergic reaction, basophils can release their mediator substances into the extracellular space and thus contribute to the clinical picture and symptoms in allergy. The phenotypic hallmark of basophils is expression of high-affinity IgE receptors (FcεRI) on their cell surface together with expression of the activation-linked molecule CD203c. This ectoenzyme is located both on the plasma membrane and in the cytoplasmic compartment of basophils. Cross-linking of the FcεRI by an allergen or anti-IgE antibody results in a rapid upregulation of intracellular CD203c molecules to the cell surface and is accompanied by mediator release. CD203c is therefore a promising target molecule for a flow cytometry-based test to analyze sensitized individuals and patients with type I allergy. In the present article, we review the current knowledge of CD203c with special regard to its tissue distribution and regulation in basophil activation. In addition, we discuss the application of CD203c in allergy diagnosis.

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