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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2012 Jun;129(6):1628-35.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2012.01.070. Epub 2012 Mar 10.

CRACM/Orai ion channel expression and function in human lung mast cells.

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Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Institute for Lung Health, University of Leicester, Leicester, United Kingdom.



Influx of extracellular Ca(2+) into human lung mast cells (HLMCs) is essential for the FcεRI-dependent release of preformed granule-derived mediators and newly synthesized autacoids and cytokines. However, the identity of the ion channels underlying this Ca(2+) influx is unknown. The recently discovered members of the CRACM/Orai ion channel family that carries the Ca(2+) release-activated Ca(2+) current are candidates.


To investigate the expression and function of CRACM channels in HLMCs.


CRACM mRNA, protein, and functional expression were examined in purified HLMCs and isolated human bronchus.


CRACM1, -2, and -3 mRNA transcripts and CRACM1 and -2 proteins were detectable in HLMCs. A CRACM-like current was detected following FcεRI-dependent HLMC activation and also in HLMCs dialyzed with 30 μM inositol triphosphate. The Ca(2+)-selective current obtained under both conditions was blocked by 10 μM La(3+) and Gd(3+), known blockers of CRACM channels, and 2 distinct and specific CRACM-channel blockers-GSK-7975A and Synta-66. Both blockers reduced FcεRI-dependent Ca(2+) influx, and 3 μM GSK-7975A and Synta-66 reduced the release of histamine, leukotriene C(4), and cytokines (IL-5/-8/-13 and TNFα) by up to 50%. Synta-66 also inhibited allergen-dependent bronchial smooth muscle contraction in ex vivo tissue.


The presence of CRACM channels, a CRACM-like current, and functional inhibition of HLMC Ca(2+) influx, mediator release, and allergen-induced bronchial smooth muscle contraction by CRACM-channel blockers supports a role for CRACM channels in FcεRI-dependent HLMC secretion. CRACM channels are therefore a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of asthma and related allergic diseases.

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