Diagnostic tests based on human basophils: more potentials and perspectives than pitfalls
AL De Weck (1), ML Sanz (1), PM Gamboa (2), W Aberer, (3), J Bienvenu (4), M Blanca (7), P Demoly (5), DG Ebo (6), L Mayorga (7), G Monneret (4), J Sainte Laudy (8)
For the diagnosis of allergy, cellular basophil activation tests (BAT), e.g. histamine or sulfidoleukotriene release tests, have long been introduced, but the expression of basophil activation markers such as CD63 and CD203c detected by flow cytometry has attracted more recent attention. A recent opinion paper in this Journal has stressed not only the potential but also the possible pitfalls of flow-cytometric BAT.
We have applied clinical validation of various BAT in various ways for several years, and our experience shows that these new technologies have more potentials and perspectives than pitfalls. A comprehensive review of clinically validated studies on allergy to aeroallergens, insect venoms, latex, food allergens and drugs, e.g. myorelaxants, beta-lactams, pyrazolones and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as chronic urticaria shows clearly that even with different protocols, reproducible and meaningful results can be obtained.
Although the available technologies may still be optimized and better standardized, there are no serious reasons to deprive allergic patients of clinically indicated BAT, which can be performed reliably by any laboratory with allergy and flow-cytometric capacity and expertise.
CITATION Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2008;146(3):177-89