Different modulation by histamine of IL-4 and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) release according to the phenotype of human Th0, Th1 and Th2 clones


Jérôme Pène PhD INSERM U454, Hôpital Arnaud de Villeneuve, 375 Avenue du Doyen Gaston Giraud, 34295 Montpellier cedex 5, France


Histamine, an important inflammatory mediator in allergic diseases and asthma, has been reported to have modulator effects on T cells, suggesting that the bronchial microenvironment may regulate the function of resident T cells. We examined the effect of histamine on the release of the Th2-associated cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 and the Th1-associated cytokine IFN-γ by 30 CD4+ T cell clones from peripheral blood or bronchial biopsy of one atopic subject. Based on the IL-4/IFN-γ ratio, the clones were ascribed to the Th2 (ratio >1), Th0 (ratio geqslant R: gt-or-equal, slanted 0.1 and leqslant R: less-than-or-eq, slant1) or Th1 (ratio <0.1) phenotype. Histamine inhibited IFN-γ production by Th1-like cells (P<0.02, Kruskall–Wallis), especially from bronchial biopsy, but had no effect on IL-4 release. Regarding Th0 clones, histamine inhibited IL-4 production (P<0.02) in a dose-dependent manner and slightly inhibited IFN-γ production, but had no effect on Th2-like cells. Histamine had a heterogeneous and insignificant effect on IL-5 production. The H2-receptor antagonist ranitidine completely reversed the inhibition of IL-4 and IFN-γ production, whereas the agonist dimaprit mimicked this effect. In contrast, H1- and H3-receptor agonists and antagonists had no significant effect. These data demonstrate that histamine has different effects on IL-4 and IFN-γ release by T helper cells according to their phenotype via H2-receptors. This study extends the immunomodulatory effects of histamine which may contribute to the perpetuation of airway inflammation in asthma.