Regulated upon activation normal T expressed and secreted (RANTES) is a new inducible protein member of the human C-C branch of chemokines. RANTES is a potent monocyte and lymphocyte chemoattractant and is a mediator of inflammatory responses. In these studies we found that RANTES 10 ng/50 μl chemoattracts basophilic cells in a dose-dependent manner 4 h after an intradermal injection in rat skin sites, as revealed by optic microscopy. Moreover, in biopsy specimens from rat skin injection sites histamine release was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than in controls (PBS 50 μl) after 4 h from RANTES treatment. The presence of basophilic cells in rat skin injection sites after RANTES-treatment was also confirmed by electron microscopy studies. In addition, histidine decarboxylase (HDC) mRNA was increased in rat skin sites injected with RANTES compared to sites injected with PBS (controls). Our report describes additional biological activities for RANTES, suggesting that this human chemoattractant protein may play a fundamental role in histamine and HDC generation, along with basophilic cell recruitment.
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