Human cytolytic T lymphocytes (CTL) were generated in the presence and absence of histamine in order to define the role of this autacoid in immune regulation. Histamine (10-8-10-4 M) suppressed the generation of class I specific CTL but, at 10-4 M, actually increased class II specific cytolysis. Histamine acted at the level of CTL generation; histamine was not present in the cytolytic assay. When histamine was added to the cytolytic assay with CTL grown without histamine, the lytic ability of the effector cells was similar to that of controls. Histamine-induced suppression of class I specific cytolysis was blocked by continuous culture with the H2 antagonist ranitidine but not with the H1 antagonist pyrilamine. These data suggest that suppression was mediated by the H2 receptor. Continuous culture with histamine had no effect on T cell proliferation or the expression of cell surface molecules. Histamine-induced suppression of class I specific cytolysis was reversed by the addition of PHA to the cytotoxicity assay, showing that the cytolytic machinery was intact. These data provide evidence that histamine is involved in regulation of cytolytic T Cells.
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