Food allergyEvaluation of basophil activation in food allergy: present and future applicationsShreffler, Wayne GAuthor Information Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Division of Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, New York, USA Correspondence to Dr Wayne Shreffler, MD, PhD, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Division of Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Box 1198, 1 Gustave L Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA Tel: +1 212 241 7244; fax: +1 212 426 1902; e-mail: email@example.com Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology: June 2006 - Volume 6 - Issue 3 - p 226-233 doi: 10.1097/01.all.0000225165.83144.2f Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review The diagnosis of immediate hypersensitivity relies on specific IgE and history. Because of low specificity, however, provocation challenges are often necessary. Furthermore, IgE testing does not predict features such as reaction severity; nor can it discriminate cross-reactivity from multiple sensitizations. Direct and passive basophil activation tests may address these needs. In addition, measuring basophil activation ex vivo may be useful for monitoring patients with food allergies. Recent findings Several papers using basophil activation tests demonstrate comparable sensitivity and specificity to current testing for food allergy. Flow-based basophil activation tests have also been used to assess functional characteristics of patient IgE. Finally, several activation phenotypes have been identified as markers of allergic inflammation in vivo; these phenotypes appear to correspond to earlier reports of spontaneous histamine-releasing basophils in patients with active allergic inflammation. Summary Although in their early stages, direct basophil activation tests may prove to be useful in the clinic. Indirect basophil activation studies are useful when applied to compare functional aspects of IgE. Identification of basophil activation ex vivo is a promising approach for monitoring allergic inflammation. Copyright © 2006 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.