We tested the hypothesis that airway hyperresponsiveness to histamine in the allergic sheep is related to functional depression of H2 histamine receptors. Thirteen of 32 sheep responded with bronchoconstriction to inhaled Ascaris suum antigen (allergic sheep), and the remainder served as controls (nonallergic sheep). In the allergic sheep, 50 and 100 breaths of 5% histamine solution increased mean pulmonary resistance (RL) to 235% and 438% of baselines, respectively. The corresponding values in nonallergic sheep were 200% and 211%, indicating a greater response to the higher dose of histamine in allergic sheep. Selective H1-receptor stimulation with 50 breaths of histamine (pretreatment with the H2-receptor antagonist metiamide) failed to enhance the effect of histamine in allergic sheep (mean RL increased to 239% of baseline) whereas it enhanced the histamine response in nonallergic sheep (RL increased to 438% of baseline). Selective H2-receptor stimulation (pretreatment with the H1-receptor antagonist chlorpheniramine) caused histamine to decrease RL by 31% in the nonallergic sheep group; it blocked but did not reverse the histamine effect in the allergic sheep. Similar observations were made in a different group of animals when selective H1- or selective H2-receptor stimulation was produced by 100 breaths of histamine. The cutaneous wheal response to intradermal histamine dilutions of 0.0001, 0.001, 0.01, and 1 mg/ml was similar in both groups. In nonallergic sheep, both chlorpheniramine and metiamide blunted the cutaneous wheal response. In allergic animals, only chlorpheniramine blunted the cutaneous wheal response, whereas metiamide was without effect. We conclude that airway hyperresponsiveness to histamine in allergic sheep is related to a functional depression of H2 receptors and that such a defect is observed both in the airways as well as in the skin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy