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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1975 Jun;55(6):394-402.

In vivo studies of mediator release in cold urticaria and cholinergic urticaria.


Six patients with cold urticaria were found to possess elevated plasma histamine levels after cold challenge by placing one hand in ice water for 4 minutes. A single patient became hypotensive during the procedure and had a level of 260 ng/ml. histamine in the venous effluent from his hand. No elevation of plasma serotonin or bradykinin was observed. Two patients with cholinergic urticaria possessed elevated plasma histamine levels during and after vigorous exercise for 10 minutes; these patients also gave a positive test for vibration-induced angioedema. A single patient with cholinergic urticaria possessed elevated baseline serotonin levels and elevated levels during and after exercise but no elevation of plasma histamine or bradykinin. The results suggest that histamine is the major mediator of urticaria and hypotension in cold urticaria. Histamine also appears to be released coincident with the development of urticaria in some patients with cholinergic urticaria, while elevated serotonin levels in a single atypical patient suggest that a subpopulation of patients with cholinergic urticaria possess a different pathogenesis.

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