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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 Mar;105(3):552-60.

Chronic urticaria serum induces histamine release, leukotriene production, and basophil CD63 surface expression--inhibitory effects ofanti-inflammatory drugs.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Hannover Medical University, Hannover, Germany.



A role of potential histamine-releasing autoantibodies against the high-affinity IgE receptor on the surface of basophils and mast cells is discussed in the pathogenesis of chronic urticaria. This so-called autoimmune urticaria may be diagnosed by a positive intracutaneous autologous serum skin test, which is found in about 30% of patients with chronic urticaria.


Our purpose was, first, to compare the effect of complement-inactivated sera of 20 patients with chronic urticaria and positive autologous serum skin tests, 20 patients with chronic urticaria and negative skin tests, and 20 control subjects without chronic urticaria (10 atopic and 10 nonatopic subjects) and, second, to analyze the effect of anti-inflammatory drugs on the serum activity.


The following assay systems were used: release of histamine in whole blood samples, surface expression of the activation marker CD63 on basophils, and sulfidoleukotriene de novo production in leukocyte suspensions. Whole blood, basophils, and leukocyte suspensions were obtained from a nonatopic and an atopic donor.


Sera of patients with autologous serum skin test positive chronic urticaria resulted not only in significantly increased histamine release compared with skin test-negative chronic urticaria sera but also in a significant higher induction of basophil CD63 surface expression and sulfidoleukotriene de novo production. However, serum activity was neither characteristic for chronic urticaria nor for chronic urticaria with a positive autologous serum skin test. Preincubation with dapsone, chloroquine, and lidocaine dose dependently resulted in a significant reduction of all histamine release, CD63 expression, and sulfidoleukotriene production. In addition, mizolastine was able to inhibit serum-induced sulfidoleukotriene production.


Further studies investigating the in vivo effect of these drugs will have to clarify their role in the management of the subset of patients with chronic urticaria demonstrating serum-induced inflammatory effects.

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