Decreased intracellular histamine concentration and basophil activation in anaphylaxis.


Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Biomedical & Health Sciences, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima, Japan. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Histamine is a crucial mediator in the development of anaphylaxis. Although histamine is promptly degraded because of its short half-life in plasma, basophils, which release histamine, remain in the blood for days. To explore basophils as a potential marker and their involvement in the pathogenesis of anaphylaxis, we evaluated the intracellular histamine concentration and the degree of basophil activation in anaphylaxis patients.
METHODS : We conducted a case-control study enrolling anaphylaxis patients and healthy controls. Basophil activation was evaluated by flow cytometry using up-regulation of CD203c expression.
RESULTS : We enrolled 23 patients and measured their blood histamine concentration. Basophil activation was analyzed in seven of 23 patients. The median intracellular histamine concentrations at admission were significantly lower in patients compared with controls (16.4 ng/mL [interquartile range {IQR}, 2.70 to 34.0] vs. 62.3 ng/mL [IQR, 46.0 to 85.1]; p < 0.0001). The median basophil number at admission was also significantly lower in patients compared with controls (2.21 cell/μL [IQR, 0.75 to 12.3] vs. 21.0 cell/μL [IQR, 19.5 to 28.9]; p = 0.027). CD203c expression was not up-regulated in any of the seven patients in vitro, but it was up-regulated in response to anti-IgE stimulation in vitro in two patients at admission and four patients at follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS : Anaphylaxis is associated with a decrease in intracellular histamine, and a reduced number and reactivity of peripheral basophils. Impaired basophil function and a decrease in their number and intracellular histamine levels in the circulation may reflect the underlying mechanism, suggesting that basophils may be a marker of anaphylaxis.


Anaphylaxis,Basophil activation,CD203c,Intracellular histamine,Plasma histamine,

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