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Am J Pathol. 2004 Mar;164(3):883-92.

Attenuation of Th1 effector cell responses and susceptibility to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in histamine H2 receptor knockout mice is due to dysregulation of cytokine production by antigen-presenting cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of Vermont School of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.


Histamine, a biogenic amine with both neurotransmitter and vasoactive properties, is well recognized as an immunomodulatory agent in allergic and inflammatory reactions. It also plays a regulatory role in the development of antigen-specific immune responses. CD4+ T-cells from histamine H1 receptor (H1R)-deficient (H1RKO) mice produce significantly less interferon-gamma and more interleukin (IL)-4 in in vitro recall assays compared to wild-type controls. H1RKO mice are also less susceptible to acute early-phase experimental allergic encephalomyelitis indicating that H1R signaling in CD4+ T cells plays a central role in regulating pathogenic T-cell responses. In this study, we show that mice lacking histamine H2 receptor (H2RKO) are similar to H1RKO mice in that they develop encephalitogen-specific T-cell responses as assessed by proliferation and IL-2 production and present with less severe acute early-phase experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. However, unlike T cells from H1RKO mice, which exhibit a strong Th2 bias, T cells from H2RKO mice do not. Rather, they are uniquely characterized by a significant inhibition of Th1 effector cell responses. Given that both histamine and adjuvants such as pertussis toxin modulate antigen-presenting cell (APC) maturation and function, including T-cell-polarizing activity, we analyzed the cytokines/chemokines secreted by APCs from wild-type, H1RKO, and H2RKO mice. Significant differences in cytokine/chemokine production by APCs from unimmunized and immunized mice were delineated. APCs from H2RKO mice produce significantly less IL-12 and IL-6 and markedly greater amounts of MCP-1 compared to wild-type and H1RKO mice. Because MCP-1 is known to inhibit IL-12 production, the failure of H2RKO mice to generate encephalitogenic Th1 effector cell responses is consistent with inhibition of negative regulation of MCP-1 secretion by H2R signaling in APCs.

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