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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Oct;112(4 Suppl):S83-8.

The histamine-cytokine network in allergic inflammation.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, University of Naples Federico II, School of Medicine, Naples, Italy.


Histamine is synthesized and released by human basophils, mast cells, and neurons. Its pleiotropic effects are mediated by the activation of 4 receptors: H(1), H(2), H(3), and H(4). With the advent of selective antagonists (the antihistamines widely used to treat allergic disorders), the H(1)-receptor was the first member of the receptor family to be pharmacologically defined. Increasing evidence indicates that, in addition to exerting immediate vascular and bronchial responses, histamine might modulate the immune reaction by interacting with T cells, macrophages, basophils, eosinophils, and monocytes. We have shown that, in vitro, histamine induces a concentration-dependent release of IL-6 and beta-glucuronidase from macrophages isolated from the human lung parenchyma. These effects are inhibited by fexofenadine, an H(1)-receptor antagonist, but not by ranitidine, an H(2)-receptor antagonist. This observation raises the possibility that long-term treatment with fexofenadine might have beneficial effects on immune dysregulation and tissue damage/remodeling associated with histamine-mediated macrophage activation.

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