Glioblastoma stem cell-specific histamine secretion drives pro-angiogenic tumor microenvironment remodeling

Cell Stem Cell. 2022 Nov 3;29(11):1531-1546.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2022.09.009. Epub 2022 Oct 19.


The communication between glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) and the surrounding microenvironment is a prominent feature accounting for the aggressive biology of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, the mechanisms by which GSCs proactively drive interactions with microenvironment is not well understood. In this study, we interrogated metabolites that are preferentially secreted from GSCs and found that GSCs produce and secrete histamine to shape a pro-angiogenic tumor microenvironment. This histamine-producing ability is attributed to H3K4me3 modification-activated histidine decarboxylase (HDC) transcription via MYC. Notably, HDC is highly expressed in GBM, which is associated with poor survival of these patients. GSC-secreted histamine activates endothelial cells by triggering a histamine H1 receptor (H1R)-Ca2+-NF-κB axis, thereby promoting angiogenesis and GBM progression. Importantly, pharmacological blockage of H1R using antihistamines impedes the growth of GBM xenografts in mice. Our findings establish that GSC-specific metabolite secretion remodels the tumor microenvironment and highlight histamine targeting as a potential strategy for GBM therapy.

Keywords: GBM; angiogenesis; epigenetics; glioblastoma stem cells; histamine; histidine decarboxylase; tumor microenvironment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Glioblastoma* / pathology
  • Histamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / pathology
  • Tumor Microenvironment


  • Histamine