All basophils, mucosal-type mast cells (MMC) and connective tissue-type mast cells (CTMC) are derived from the multipotential hematopoietic stem cell. Mutations at the c-kit locus resulted in deficiency of MMC and CTMC in both mice and rats. To investigate the role of the c-kit receptor tyrosine kinase for production of basophils, we used white spotting/white spotting (Ws/Ws) mutant rats that have a small deletion at the tyrosine kinase domain of the c-kit gene. When Ws/Ws, nude athymic, and normal (+/+) rats were infected with Nippostrongylus brasiliensis (NB), the number of basophils increased greater than 50- fold in the peripheral blood of Ws/Ws and +/+ rats but did not increase in that of nude rats. Blood histamine concentration increased significantly in Ws/Ws and +/+ rats but did not increase in nude rats. Immature basophils increased greater than 10-fold in the bone marrow of Ws/Ws and +/+ rats but did not increase in that of nude rats. Mature and immature basophils that developed after the NB infection were identified by electron microscopy. The present result confirms that T- cell-derived cytokines are indispensable for the augmented production of basophils and suggests that stimulation via the c-kit receptor may not be necessary for the augmented production.

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