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Allergy. 2009 Feb;64(2):213-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2008.01795.x.

Histamine N-methyltransferase 939A>G polymorphism affects mRNA stability in patients with acetylsalicylic acid-intolerant chronic urticaria.

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  • 1Department of Allergy & Rheumatology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.



Histamine plays an important role in allergic inflammation. Histamine levels are regulated by histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT).


To investigate the functional variability of HNMT gene in relation to genetic polymorphisms in patients with aspirin intolerant chronic urticaria (AICU).


Two single-nucleotide polymorphisms of the HNMT gene (314C>T, 939A>G) were genotyped in chronic urticaria patients. The functional variability of 3'-untranslated region polymorphism (3'-UTR) was assessed using the pEGFP-HNMT 3'-UTR reporter construct to examine mRNA stability and fluorescence-tagged protein expression. The HNMT enzymatic activities related to the 939A>G polymorphism were examined both in the human mast cells (HMC-1) transfected with the pHNMT CDS-3'-UTR construct and in the patients' red blood cells (RBCs). Histamine release from the basophils of AICU patients was examined.


The 939A>G polymorphism was significantly associated with the AICU phenotype, while no association was found with the 314C>T polymorphism. An in vitro functional study using HMC-1 cells demonstrated that the 939A allele gave lower levels of HNMT mRNA stability, HNMT protein expression, and HNMT enzymatic activity and higher histamine release than the 939G allele. The in vivo functional study demonstrated that the AICU patients with the 939A allele had lower HNMT activity in RBC lysates and higher histamine release from their basophils.


The HNMT 939A>G polymorphism lowers HNMT enzymatic activity by decreasing HNMT mRNA stability, which leads to an increase in the histamine level and contributes to the development of AICU.

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