The antigen-presenting abilities of basophils and their role in initiating a Th2 phenotype is a topic of current controversy. We aimed to determine whether human basophils can be induced to express MHC Class II and act as antigen presenting cells for T cell stimulation. Isolated human basophils were exposed to a panel of cytokines and TLR-ligands and assessed for MHC Class II expression. MHC Class II was expressed in up to 17 of isolated basophils following incubation with a combination of IL-3, IFN-? and GM-CSF for 72 hours. Costimulatory molecules (CD80 and CD86) were expressed at very low levels after stimulation. Gene expression analysis of MHC Class II-positive basophils confirmed up-regulation of HLA-DR, HLA-DM, CD74 and Cathepsin S. However, MHC Class II expressing basophils were incapable of inducing antigen-specific T cell activation or proliferation. This is the first report of significant cytokine-induced MHC Class II up-regulation, at both RNA and protein level, in isolated human basophils. By testing stimulation with relevant T cell epitope peptide as well as whole antigen, the failure of MHC Class II expressing basophils to induce T cell response was shown not to be solely due to inefficient antigen uptake and/or processing. Copyright: ? 2013 Voskamp et al.