Atopic diseases such as allergy and asthma are characterized by increases in Th2 cells and serum IgE antibodies. The binding of allergens to IgE on mast cells triggers the release of several mediators, of which histamine is the most prevalent. Here we show that histamine, together with a maturation signal, acts directly upon immature dendritic cells (iDCs), profoundly altering their T cell polarizing capacity. We demonstrate that iDCs express two active histamine receptors, H1 and H2. Histamine did not significantly affect the LPS-driven maturation of iDCs with regard to phenotypic changes or capacity to prime naive T cells, but it dramatically altered the repertoire of cytokines and chemokines secreted by mature DCs. In particular, histamine, acting upon the H2 receptor for a short period of time, increased IL-10 production and reduced IL-12 secretion. As a result, histamine-matured DCs polarized naive CD4+ T cells toward a Th2 phenotype, as compared with DCs that had matured in the absence of histamine. We propose that the Th2 cells favor IgE production, leading to increased histamine secretion by mast cells, thus creating a positive feedback loop that could contribute to the severity of atopic diseases.
Alessandra Mazzoni, Howard A. Young, Jessica H. Spitzer, Alberto Visintin, David M. Segal
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.