Histamine induces NF-κB controlled cytokine secretion by orbital fibroblasts via histamine receptor type-1

Sita Virakul, Tanachaporn Phetsuksiri, Conny van Holten-Neelen, Benjamin Schrijver, Leendert van Steensel, Virgil A S H Dalm, Dion Paridaens, Willem A van den Bosch, P Martin van Hagen, Willem A Dik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Mast cells and their products are likely to be involved in regulating orbital fibroblast activity in Graves' Ophthalmopathy (GO). Histamine is abundantly present in granules of mast cells and is released upon mast cell activation. However, the effect of histamine on orbital fibroblasts has not been examined so far. Orbital tissues from GO patients and controls were analyzed for the presence of mast cells using toluidine blue staining and immunohistochemical detection of CD117 (stem cell factor receptor). Orbital fibroblasts were cultured from GO patients and healthy controls, stimulated with histamine and cytokines (IL-6, IL-8, CCL2, CCL5, CCL7, CXCL10 and CXCL11) were measured in culture supernatants. Also hyaluronan levels were measured in culture supernatants and hyaluronan synthase (HAS) and hyaluronidase (HYAL) gene expression levels were determined. In addition, histamine receptor subtype gene expression levels were examined as well as the effect of the histamine receptor-1 (HRH1) antagonist loratadine and NF-κB inhibitor SC-514 on histamine-induced cytokine production. Mast cell numbers were increased in GO orbital tissues. Histamine stimulated the production of IL-6, IL-8 and CCL2 by orbital fibroblasts, while it had no effect on the production of CCL5, CCL7, CXCL10, CXCL11 and hyaluronan. Orbital fibroblasts expressed HRH1 and loratadine and SC-514 both blocked histamine-induced IL-6, IL-8 and CCL2 production by orbital fibroblasts. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that histamine can induce the production of NF-κB controlled-cytokines by orbital fibroblasts, which supports a role for mast cells in GO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016


  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines/metabolism
  • Fibroblasts/drug effects
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy/drug therapy
  • Histamine/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mast Cells/cytology
  • NF-kappa B/metabolism
  • Receptors, Histamine/metabolism


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