Abnormal histamine-induced suppressor-cell function in atopic subjects

N Engl J Med. 1982 Feb 25;306(8):454-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198202253060804.


To detect a potential defect in immunoregulatory function in atopic subjects, we studied histamine-induced suppressor-T-cell activity and histamine Type 1 and Type 2 receptors on T cells. Peripheral-blood mononuclear cells from 16 atopic subjects generated less histamine-induced suppressor activity than did those from 20 nonatopic normal controls (P less than 0.005). The percentage of T lymphocytes bearing histamine Type 2 receptors was lower in the atopic group than in the control group (P less than 0.001), but the percentage of cells with Type 1 receptors was the same in both groups. In the atopic subjects, the functional suppressor-cell abnormality positively correlated with the decreased phenotypic expression of histamine Type 2 receptors. No abnormality in concanavalin A-induced suppressor activity was detected in these subjects. Nonatopic control subjects with systemic mastocytosis had normal functional and phenotypic data, suggesting that chronic activation of atopic T cells in vivo by circulating histamine does not explain the abnormal histamine-induced suppressor response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Concanavalin A / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Histamine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / analysis
  • Receptors, Histamine H2 / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes / analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • Receptors, Histamine H1
  • Receptors, Histamine H2
  • Concanavalin A
  • Histamine