The histamine-synthesizing enzyme histidine decarboxylase is upregulated by keratinocytes in atopic skin.
Gutowska-Owsiak D., Greenwald L., Watson C., Selvakumar TA., Wang X., Ogg GS.
BACKGROUND: Histamine is an abundant mediator accumulating in the skin of atopic patients, where it is thought to be derived from immune cells. While keratinocytes express histidine decarboxylase (HDC), levels of the enzyme in normal or diseased epidermis and factors that influence its expression in human keratinocytes are not known. OBJECTIVES: To assess levels of HDC in inflammatory skin diseases and factors influencing its expression. METHODS: Normal and filaggrin-insufficient human keratinocytes, organotypic epidermal models and skin samples were investigated for the expression of HDC. The effect of cytokines, bacterial and allergen stimuli exposure and functional changes in differentiation were evaluated in vitro. RESULTS: We detected abundant expression of the HDC protein in all models studied; expression was increased in atopic skin samples. Filaggrin-insufficient keratinocytes maintained HDC levels, but exposure of keratinocytes to thymic stromal lymphopoietin, tumour necrosis factor-α, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and house dust mite (HDM) extract increased HDC expression in vitro. Furthermore, filaggrin expression in cultured keratinocytes increased following histamine depletion. CONCLUSIONS: Keratinocytes express abundant HDC protein, and the levels increase in atopic skin. LPS, HDM and cytokines, which are implicated in allergic inflammation, promote the expression of the enzyme and upregulate histamine levels in keratinocytes. Actively produced histamine influences keratinocyte differentiation, suggesting functional relevance of the axis to atopic dermatitis. The findings therefore identify a new point of therapeutic intervention.