H4 receptors in mast cells and basophils: A new therapeutic target for allergy?

Bernhard F. Gibbs, Francesca Levi-Schaffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


It has long been recognised that mast cells and basophils are prominent sources of preformed histamine in humans and that this biogenic amine serves as one of the most important inflammatory mediators. In allergic diseases, histamine has previously been shown to partially modulate symptoms such as airway obstruction, mucus secretion, reddening of the skin and itch, all of which were attributed to engagement of H1-receptors with the amine. However, more recently it has been shown that certain key biological functions of histamine, such as itch, are also crucially controlled by H 4-receptor stimulation, resulting in a growing interest in combinational anti-H1 and -H4 therapeutic approaches. Moreover, research is beginning to shed light on a role of H4- receptors in mast cell precursor trafficking to various tissues commonly affected by allergic inflammation. Furthermore, H4-receptors are also expressed on mature basophils and other effector cells of allergic reactions, such as eosinophils. This presents exciting possibilities in terms of potentially modulating the proallergic function of these cells as well as preventing the effects of histamine on target organs and cells.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)430-437
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience - Landmark
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Allergy
  • Basophils
  • Histamine
  • IgE
  • Mast cells
  • Review


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