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Yakugaku Zasshi. 2003 Jul;123(7):547-59.

[Physiological function mediated by histamine synthesis].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Physiological Chemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, 46-29 Yoshida Shimoadachi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Histamine is involved in a variety of physiologic responses, such as inflammation, type I allergy, gastric acid secretion, and neurotransmission. Previous studies have focused on specific receptors for histamine and histamine release through degranulation, and the regulation of histamine synthesis and its physiologic roles remain to be clarified. We have studied histidine decarboxylase (HDC), the rate-limiting enzyme for mammalian histamine synthesis. Immunocytochemical approaches with an anti-HDC antibody revealed that histamine synthesis occurs in two distinct compartments of mast cells, cytosol and granules, and is regulated by the posttranslational processing of HDC. We also found that histamine synthesis in mast cells is markedly induced by IgE even in the absence of antigens, which may be relevant to enhanced responses of mast cells under allergic conditions. We then developed HDC-deficient mice by gene targeting to investigate the physiologic roles of histamine. We not only confirmed that histamine is essential for type I allergy and stimulates gastric acid secretion, but also found that histamine may regulate the proliferation and differentiation of mast cells. Furthermore, in HDC-deficient mice histamine produced by infiltrated neutrophils can suppress the production of antitumoral cytokines, such as interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha through H2 receptors in the tumor tissues. In this review, we describe recent topics in histamine research, including our results focusing on histamine synthesis and its physiologic roles.

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