The mechanism of human basophil histamine release by the calcium ionophore A23187 has been compared to that induced by the interaction of antigen with cell bound IgE antibody. Ionophore induced histamine release (Ion. H.R.) occurs with the leukocytes of both normal and allergic donors. It is completely calcium dependent; LaCl3 inhibits both Ion. H.R. and antigen induced histamine release (Ag. H.R.) at about 10-7 M. The kinetics of Ion. H. R. suggest that this process has no “desensitization” phase as does Ag. H.R. and the ionophore is fully active on antigen-desensitized cells. Pharmacologic studies indicate that dibutyryl cyclic AMP and agents which increase endogenous cyclic AMP levels do not inhibit Ion. H.R. as they inhibit the early stages of Ag. H.R. Of the agents which affect microtubules, colchicine inhibits and D2O enhances Ion. H.R. in a manner which is qualitatively similar but quantitatively less marked than their effects on Ag. H.R. The metabolic antagonist 2-deoxyglucose inhibits both Ion. H.R. and Ag. H.R. in a similar fashion. Based on these data and the observation that cells pretreated with ionophore show a marked (synergistic) enhancement of Ag. H.R. we conclude that Ion. H.R. has a similar or identical mechanism to the later stages of Ag. H.R. but “short circuits” the cyclic AMP-associated events of Ag. H.R.

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This work was supported by Grants AI 07290 and AI 11334 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. This is Publication No. 142 of The O'Neill Research Laboratories.

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