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Inflamm Res. 2007 Feb;56(2):89-92.

Serotonin content is elevated in the immune cells of histidine decarboxylase gene knock-out (HDCKO) mice. Focus on mast cells.

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Department of Genetics, Cell and Immunobiology, Semmelweis University and Immunogenomical Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1445, POB 370, Budapest, Hungary.



Biogenic amines, histamine and serotonin are present in the granules and nucleus of mast cells. We wanted to study the presence, amount and localization of serotonin in mast cells and other cells of the immune system, under conditions of histamine deficiency caused by knock out of histamine decarboxylase gene (HDCKO).


Wild type and histamine deficient HDCKO mice were studied for serotonin content of the immune cells (lymphocytes as well as the monocyte-granulocyte-mast cell group) using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Groups of mice were kept either on complete rodent chow or on a histamine-free diet for a month before the experiments.


The amount of serotonin was significantly higher in the KO animals, irrespective of the diet. Confocal microscopy demonstrated the presence of serotonin in the nucleus of mast cells in the wild type animals, while it was not present in the KO mice. Furthermore, in the cytoplasm (granules) of KO mast cells a bright fluorescence was observed in contrast to the pale fluorescence of wild animals.


It seems likely that serotonin replaces the deficient histamine in the heparin-biogenic amine complex in the mast cell granules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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