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FEBS Lett. 2001 Jul 27;502(1-2):53-6.

Mice lacking histidine decarboxylase exhibit abnormal mast cells.

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Department of Cellular Pharmacology, Tohoku University School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


Histidine decarboxylase (HDC) synthesizes histamine from histidine in mammals. To evaluate the role of histamine, we generated HDC-deficient mice using a gene targeting method. The mice showed a histamine deficiency and lacked histamine-synthesizing activity from histidine. These HDC-deficient mice are viable and fertile but exhibit a decrease in the numbers of mast cells while the remaining mast cells show an altered morphology and reduced granular content. The amounts of mast cell granular proteases were tremendously reduced. The HDC-deficient mice provide a unique and promising model for studying the role of histamine in a broad range of normal and disease processes.

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