Basophil models of homeopathy:a sceptical view

Madeleine Ennis*
Respiratory Medicine Research Group, Centre for Infection and Immunity, Microbiology Building, The Queen’s University of Belfast, Grosvenor Road, Belfast BT12 6BN, Northern Ireland, UK

This  paper  examines  the  activation  and  inhibition  of  activation  of  human  basophils.  After a brief description of human basophils, different methods to determine basophil   activation are discussed with a special emphasis on the use of flow cytometric methods, as  these  circumvent  the  potential  problems  of  assays  based  on  the  loss  of  colour  by  activated basophils. The activation of human basophils by ultra-high dilutions of anti-IgE  is  discussed.  The  majority  of  the  paper  describes  the  inhibition  of  basophil  activation   by  ultra-high  dilutions  of  histamine.  The  results  from  published  papers  are  described and discussed.

After over 20 years research trying to find out if high dilutions of histamine have a negative feedback      effect  on   the   activation    of  basophils by   anti-IgE,   what    do   we   know?     The methods are poorly standardized between laboratories – although the same is true for conventional studies. Certainly there appears to be some evidence for an effect – albeit small in some cases – with the high dilutions in several different laboratories using the flow cytometric methodologies. After standardization of a number of parameters, it is  recommended  that  a  multi-centre  trial  be  performed  to  hopefully  put  an  end  to  this  ‘‘never-ending story’’

Keywords: Homeopathy; In vitro; Basophils

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