Interactions between eotaxin, histamine and mast cells in early microvascular events associated with eosinophil recruitment to the site of allergic skin reactions in humans

Clin Exp Allergy. 2004 Aug;34(8):1276-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2004.02014.x.


Background: The mechanism whereby allergen induces eotaxin expression at the site of allergic inflammation is incompletely understood. Structural cells, including endothelial cells, are a major source of eotaxin.

Objective: We have investigated, in vivo and in vitro, the relationship between mast cell activation and the expression of eotaxin (eotaxin 1) by endothelial cells.

Methods: The effects of intradermal allergen challenge and histamine injection on eotaxin mRNA and protein generation were studied in atopic subjects using immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Histamine-induced expression of eotaxin mRNA and protein by endothelial cells was also measured, as was histamine-induced eosinophil adhesion to cultured endothelial cells.

Results: A rapid increase in degranulating cutaneous mast cells, together with a concomitant increase in eosinophils, was observed 60 min after allergen challenge. This was accompanied by the appearance of immunoreactive eotaxin that peaked at 1 h around blood vessels and at 3 h within the tissue. Intradermal histamine injection produced an increase in the number of eotaxin+ cells in the tissues, which was maximal at the 3-h time-point. In vitro, endothelial cells produced eotaxin mRNA and protein product in a dose- and time-dependent fashion following incubation with histamine, an effect that was blocked by levocetirizine. Pre-incubation of endothelial cells with histamine also induced a significant increase in eosinophil adherence, an effect that was inhibited with an anti-eotaxin blocking monoclonal antibody.

Conclusion: The antigen-induced expression of eotaxin by endothelial cells and the adherence and subsequent migration of eosinophils from the microvasculature to the tissues are rapid events partially under the control of histamine released from degranulating mast cells.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line
  • Cetirizine / pharmacology
  • Chemokine CCL11
  • Chemokines, CC / genetics
  • Chemokines, CC / metabolism*
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / immunology*
  • Endothelial Cells / immunology
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Irritants / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / metabolism*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • CCL11 protein, human
  • Chemokine CCL11
  • Chemokines, CC
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Irritants
  • Piperazines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • levocetirizine
  • Histamine
  • Cetirizine