Cellular origin of histamine-releasing factor produced by peripheral blood mononuclear cells

R. Alam, P. A. Forsythe, M. A. Lett-Brown, J. A. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Histamine releasing factors (HRF) are a group of cytokines that release histamine and other mediators from mast cells and basophils. It has been speculated that HRF might play a major role in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases. Most investigators have studied PBMC as a source of HRF. This study was undertaken to investigate the cellular origin of HRF. Peripheral blood was processed to isolate and purify monocytes, T cells, CD4- T cells, CD8- T cells and B cells by using plastic adherence, 2-aminoethylisothiomonium-treated SRBC rosetting and negative selection with the use of mAb OKM1, OKT11, OKT8, OKT4, and OKB7 plus C. Highly purified subpopulations of PBMC were cultured alone or in the presence of Con A for 24 h. Supernatants were harvested, dialyzed, and assayed for HRF activity in the basophil histamine release test. We found that all subpopulations of PBMC including T cells, CD4- T cells, CD8- T cells, B cells and monocytes produce variable quantities of HRF. The spontaneous production is very high in B cells but only barely measurable in T cells and monocytes. The synthesis of HRF by B cells was confirmed by abolishing the release of the activity after treatment of B cells with OKB7 mAb and C. Stimulation of cell populations by Con A significantly enhances HRF production by PBMC and T cells but not by B cells and monocytes. In mixing experiments, unstimulated monocytes + B cells showed synergism, but other combinations demonstrated an additive effect. This is the first demonstration of HRF production by human peripheral blood B cells. The results of this study also suggest that histamine releasing cytokines are of multiple cellular origin. This perhaps contributes to their molecular heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3951-3956
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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