Inhibition of Allergen-Induced Basophil Activation by ASM-024, a Nicotinic Receptor Ligand
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BACKGROUND: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) were identified on eosinophils and shown to regulate inflammatory responses, but nAChR expression on basophils has not been explored yet. OBJECTIVE: We investigated surface receptor expression of nAChR α4, α7 and α1/α3/α5 subunits on basophils. Furthermore, we examined the effects of ASM-024, a synthetic nicotinic ligand, on in vitro anti-IgE and in vivo allergen-induced basophil activation. METHODS: Basophils were enriched from the peripheral blood of allergic donors and the expression of nAChR subunits and muscarinic receptors was determined. Purified basophils were stimulated with anti-IgE in the presence of ASM-024 with or without muscarinic or nicotinic antagonists for the measurement of CD203c expression and histamine release. The effect of 9 days of treatment with 50 and 200 mg ASM-024 on basophil CD203c expression was examined in the blood of mild allergic asthmatics before and after allergen inhalation challenge. RESULTS: nAChR α4, α7 and α1/α3/α5 receptor subunit expression was detected on basophils. Stimulation of basophils with anti-IgE increased CD203c expression and histamine release, which was inhibited by ASM-024 (10(-5) to 10(-)(3) M, p < 0.05). The effect of ASM-024 was reversed in the presence of muscarinic and nicotinic antagonists. In subjects with mild asthma, ASM-024 inhalation significantly inhibited basophil CD203c expression measured 24 h after allergen challenge (p = 0.03). CONCLUSION: This study shows that ASM-024 inhibits IgE- and allergen-induced basophil activation through both nicotinic and muscarinic receptors, and suggests that ASM-024 may be an efficacious agent for modulating allergic asthma responses.
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