, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 211-220

The role of histamine in platelet aggregation by physiological and immunological stimuli

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Background: Platelets participate in allergic and inflammatory processes beside their role in haemostasis and thrombosis. This paper reports the level, the uptake, the metabolism and the release of histamine in human platelets. The effects of exogenous histamine, as well as the receptor and signal transduction of these effects, are also described.¶Methods: Purified suspensions of platelets, prepared from healthy volunteers and from atopic patients, were exposed in vitro to physiological and immunological stimuli. Platelet aggregation was measured by the increase in light transmission; histamine content and release, as well as cytosolic free Ca2+ concentration, were measured fluorimetrically. Platelet histamine forming capacity, and the uptake of exogenous histamine, were measured with a radioisotopic method.¶Results: Human platelets contain 72.5  ± 9.6 pmoles of histamine × 109 platelets, and their capacity to form histamine is 18.7 ± 3.5 pmoles h−1 g−1 protein, which is reduced by α-fluoromethylhistidine (10−5 M) a selective inhibitor of the specific histidine decarboxylase. Human platelets take up the preformed amine by a calcium and energy-dependent process, and the uptake of histamine is reduced by mepyramine, an H1-receptor antagonist, and N,N-diethyl-2-[4-(phenylmethyl) phenoxyl] ethanamine (10−6 M), a blocker of intracellular histamine receptors. Histamine is also metabolized by human platelets. The exposure of platelets to thrombin (10–60 mU ml−1) produced a progressive aggregation, associated with histamine release. The same is observed in platelets isolated from atopic patients exposed to anti-IgE antibodies. Exogenous histamine dose-dependently potentiates the aggregation induced by physiological and immunological stimuli. In resting platelets cytosolic calcium level (207 ± 4.2 nM 108 platelets) is increased by thrombin as well as by anti-IgE; this effect is potentiated by 10−5 M histamine.¶Conclusions: The synergistic effect between histamine and other monoamines on platelet aggregation may explain some aspects of allergic vasculitis in which platelet aggregation is present.

Received 21 October 1997; returned for revision 22 December 1997; accepted by E. Neugebauer 26 January 1998
An erratum to this article can be found online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00011-012-0583-y.