Regulation of plasma histamine levels by the mast cell clock and its modulation by stress

Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 11:7:39934. doi: 10.1038/srep39934.


At steady state, plasma histamine levels exhibit circadian variations with nocturnal peaks, which is implicated in the nighttime exacerbation of allergic symptoms. However, the regulatory mechanisms are largely unexplored. This study determined how steady-state plasma histamine levels are regulated and affected by environmental factors. We found that plasma histamine levels decreased in mast cell-deficient mice and their circadian variations were lost in mast cell-deficient mice reconstituted with bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs) harboring a mutation in the circadian gene Clock. Clock temporally regulates expression of organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3), which is involved in histamine transport, in mast cells; OCT inhibition abolished circadian variations in plasma histamine levels. Mice housed under aberrant light/dark conditions or suffering from restraint stress exhibited de-synchronization of the mast cell clockwork, concomitant with the loss of circadian variations in OCT3 expression and plasma histamine levels. The degree of compound 48/80-induced plasma extravasation in mice was correlated with plasma histamine levels. Collectively, the mast cell clock mediates circadian regulation of plasma histamine levels at steady state, in part by controlling OCT3 expression, which can be modulated by stress. Additionally, we propose that plasma histamine levels potentiate mast cell-mediated allergic reactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CCL2 / blood
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Histamine / blood*
  • Male
  • Mast Cells / cytology
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / genetics
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3 / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine / pharmacology


  • Chemokine CCL2
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-3
  • Pou5f1 protein, mouse
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • p-Methoxy-N-methylphenethylamine
  • Histamine