Balance between IL-3 and type Iinterferons and their interrelationship with FasL dictates lifespan and effector functions of human basophils.

Hagmann, B R; Odermatt, A; Kaufmann, Thomas; Dahinden, C A; Fux, Michaela (2017). Balance between IL-3 and type Iinterferons and their interrelationship with FasL dictates lifespan and effector functions of human basophils. Clinical and experimental allergy, 47(1), pp. 71-84. Wiley 10.1111/cea.12850

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In contrast to eosinophils and neutrophils, the regulation of the lifespan of human basophils is poorly defined, with the exception of the potent anti-apoptotic effect of IL-3 that also promotes pro-inflammatory effector functions and phenotypic changes. Type I IFNs (IFN-α, IFN-β), which are well known for their anti-viral activities, have the capacity to inhibit allergic inflammation.


To elucidate whether type I IFNs have the potential to abrogate the lifespan and/or effector functions of human basophils.


We cultured human basophils, and for comparison, eosinophils and neutrophils, with IL-3, interferons, FasL and TRAIL, alone or in combination, and studied cell survival, effector functions and signalling pathways involved.


Despite an identical pattern of early signalling in basophils, eosinophils and neutrophils in response to different types of interferons, only basophils displayed enhanced apoptosis after type I IFN treatment. IFN-γ prolonged survival of eosinophils but did not affect the lifespan of basophils. IFN-α-mediated apoptosis required STAT1-STAT2 heterodimers and the contribution of constitutive p38 MAPK activity. Whereas the death ligands FasL and TRAIL-induced apoptosis in basophils per se, IFN-α-mediated apoptosis did neither involve autocrine TRAIL signalling nor did it sensitize basophils to FasL-induced apoptosis. However, IFN-α and FasL displayed an additive effect in killing basophils. Interestingly, IL-3, which protected basophils from IFN-α-, TRAIL- or FasL-mediated apoptosis, did not completely block the additive effect of combined IFN-α and FasL treatment. Moreover, we demonstrate that IFN-α suppressed IL-3-induced release of IL-8 and IL-13. In contrast to IFN-α-mediated apoptosis, these inhibitory effects of IFN-α were not dependent on p38 MAPK signalling.


Our study defines the unique and granulocyte-type-specific inhibitory and pro-apoptotic function of type I IFNs and their cooperation with death ligands in human blood basophils, which may be relevant for the anti-allergic properties of type I IFNs.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Institute of Clinical Chemistry
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology

UniBE Contributor:

Kaufmann, Thomas (B), Fux, Michaela


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Jana Berger

Date Deposited:

10 Feb 2017 08:17

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:35

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

TRAIL ; FasL; IL-3; JAK/STAT pathway; apoptosis; basophils; cytokine and chemokine production; eosinophils; neutrophils; p38 MAPK pathway; survival; type I IFN; type II IFN; type III IFN




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