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Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2004 Jul;134(3):233-9. Epub 2004 Jun 1.

Acetaldehyde induces histamine release from human airway mast cells to cause bronchoconstriction.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Nagasaki, Japan.



Approximately half of the Japanese asthmatics experience exacerbation of asthma after alcohol consumption. We previously reported that this phenomenon is probably caused by histamine release from mast cells by acetaldehyde stimulation. However, no reports have described the effects of acetaldehyde on human airway mast cells. The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate acetaldehyde-induced histamine release from human airway mast cells with subsequent airway smooth muscle contraction and to investigate the ensuing mechanisms.


Human tissue samples were prepared from the lungs resected from patients with lung cancer. The effect of acetaldehyde on airway muscle tone and the concentration of chemical mediators released in the organ bath were measured before and after acetaldehyde stimulation. Mast cells were prepared from lung parenchyma by the immunomagnetic method and then stimulated with acetaldehyde to determine the chemical mediators released.


Acetaldehyde (>3 x 10(-4) M) increased airway muscle tone, which was associated with a significant increase in the release of histamine, but not thromboxane B2 or cysteinyl-leukotrienes. A histamine (H1 receptor) antagonist completely inhibited acetaldehyde-induced bronchial smooth muscle contraction. Acetaldehyde also induced a significant histamine release from human lung mast cells and degranulation of mast cells.


The present results strongly suggest that acetaldehyde stimulates human airway mast cells to release histamine, which may be involved in bronchial smooth muscle contraction following alcohol consumption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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