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J Invest Dermatol. 2008 Dec;128(12):2783-91. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.153. Epub 2008 Jun 12.

Histamine upregulates keratinocyte MMP-9 production via the histamine H1 receptor.

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Department of Dermatology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Skin inflammation and the migration of cells at the site of the immune response play an important role in allergic skin diseases. It has already been described that matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) influences tissue remodeling and facilitates cell migration by proteolytic degradation of basal membrane components. The aim of this study was to investigate MMP-9 expression on human primary keratinocytes (KCs) upon stimulation with histamine, a potent mediator in allergic responses. With ELISA and zymography, we could show that histamine induced dose-dependent upregulation of MMP-9 in cultured KCs and in punch biopsies of human skin. The histamine H(1) receptor (H(1)R) agonist beta-histine-but not agonists for H(2)R, H(3)R, and H(4)R-induced MMP-9, whereas the H(1)R antagonist clemastine blocked the effect in a dose-dependent manner. Immunohistological staining showed that histamine-induced MMP-9 led to destruction of type IV collagen at the basement membrane in healthy skin. In a coculture system of KCs and T cells, migration of T cells through an artificial basement membrane was increased after histamine stimulation of KCs. Our findings demonstrate enhanced MMP-9 production and cell migration after histamine stimulation and may represent a new mechanism by which KCs contribute to the pathology of skin diseases.

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