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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Jun 6;305(3):443-7.

New functions of histamine found in histidine decarboxylase gene knockout mice.

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Department of Pharmacology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.


Gene targeting techniques have revolutionized the investigation of the effects of bioactive substances in pathological and physiological conditions. Histamine synthesis is uniquely catalyzed by L-histidine decarboxylase. The knockout mice of this gene express no histamine-producing activity and lack histamine. These mice have been used to examine the mechanisms of histamine in several known phenotypes, e.g., gastric acid secretion, contraction of smooth muscles, vascular permeability, and awakening, and have also been used to explore unreported effects of histamine in the whole body. First, we will review the former mechanisms and then move to the latter, new effects. Especially, in the latter mechanisms, we focus on several important roles of histamine in angiogenesis, neutrophil and eosinophil recruitment, bacterial infection, and systemic anaphylaxis in this review. Moreover, to our surprise, the morphology of mast cells in the knockout mice was severely affected by the absence of histamine in terms of their granules.

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