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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Roles of histamine, complement and xanthine oxidase in thermal injury of skin.

The pathogenesis of burn edema in the skin of rats appears to be related to a role for histamine, xanthine oxidase and oxygen radicals. Histamine and its metabolic derivatives increase the catalytic activity of xanthine oxidase (but not xanthine dehydrogenase) in rat plasma and in rat pulmonary artery endothelial cells. In thermally injured rats levels of plasma histamine and xanthine oxidase rise in parallel, in association with increases in uric acid. Burn edema is greatly attenuated by treatment of rats with the mast cell stabilizer, cromolyn, by complement depletion and by treatment with the H2 receptor antagonist, cimetidine, but is unaffected by neutrophil depletion. These studies suggest the following pathogenesis of burn edema: thermal trauma causes complement activation with anaphylatoxin release and mast cell secretion of histamine, leading to enhancement of xanthine oxidase activity and increased production of oxygen radicals which damage endothelial cells.[1]


  1. Roles of histamine, complement and xanthine oxidase in thermal injury of skin. Friedl, H.P., Till, G.O., Trentz, O., Ward, P.A. Am. J. Pathol. (1989) [Pubmed]
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