Substance P-induced histamine release in human cutaneous mast cells

J. Mark Ebertz, Carol A. Hirshman, Nancy S. Kettelkamp, Hideo Uno, Jon M. Hanifin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Substance P is an undecapeptide found in multiple sites throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems including small unmyelinated (type C) cutaneous nerve fibers. Previous studies demonstrated that antidromic stimulation results in substance P (SP) release from nerve endings, SP stimulates histamine release (HR) from rat mast cells in vitro, and intradermal SP in humans produces wheals identical to those induced by histamine. These studies suggest a possible role for SP as a link between neurologic events and cutaneous mast cell-mediated reactions. We therefore investigated SP-induced HR in an in vitro preparation of human skin mast cells. Human foreskin sections were incubated with varying concentrations of SP. Histamine was assayed using automated fluorimetry and release was calculated as a percentage of total tissue histamine. Substance P caused dose-dependent HR over a range from 10-5 M (1.3%) to 5 × 10-4 M (25.1%). Histamine release was optimal at 3 mm calcium and was blocked by pretreatment with calcium chelation. Naloxone failed to block HR. These studies suggest that HR from skin mast cells by SP may play a role in neural modulation of poorly understood inflammatory skin conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)682-685
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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