Interplay between mast cells and hormones: Part 4 of 8

Hormone Location released Major functions Interaction with mast cells Reference
Ghrelin Stomach, jejunum, duodenum, colon, brain, lungs, liver, adipose tissue, placenta, lymphatic system Stimulate appetite

Can cross BBB

Induced mast cell degranulation

Dose dependently induced histamine release

Inhibits many inflammatory molecules, like TNF, IL-8, MCP-1, IL-1b, IL-6, CRP, IL-12, VCAM-1, MMP2, MMP9, GM-CSF and IL-17

Opposes action of leptin, a mast cell mediator

Level is increased by lack of sleep, promoting excessive hunger.

Hirayama T, et al. Ghrelin and obestatin promote the allergic action in rat peritoneal mast cells as basic secretagogues. Peptides 2010: 31(11), 2109-2113.

Baatar D, et al. The effects of ghrelin on inflammation and the immune system. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 2011: 340(1), 44-58.

Glucagon Pancreas Regulates amount of available glucose

Triggers breakdown of glycogen and production of glucose in liver, raising blood sugar

Released when blood sugar is too low

Can increase level of cAMP in myocardium to overcome effect of beta blockers

Anecdotal reports that glucagon may be able to relax esophagus sphincter to pass impacted food



In anaphylaxis patients on beta blockers, glucagon can be used to reduce resistance to epinephrine and increase blood pressure

May be considered to treat Kounis Syndrome where epinephrine is contraindicated

Histamine H3 receptor may regulate glucagon release from pancreas


Nakamura T, et al. Role of histamine H3 receptor in glucagon secreting aTC1.6 cells. FEBS Open Bio 2015: 5, 36-41.

Thomas M, Crawford I. Glucagon infusion in refractory anaphylactic shock in patients on beta blockers. Emerg Med J 2005: 22, 272-276.

Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) Small intestine Increases release of insulin and nausea

Decreases release of glucagon, desire to eat and amount of food consumed

Increases anxiety


Possible relationship   between GLP-1 and histamine in the brain, but still unclear

GLP-1 level is modulated by leptin, a mast cell mediator Increases ACTH and cortisol

Gotoh K, et al. Glucagon-like peptide-1, corticotropin-releasing hormone, and hypothalamic neuronal histamine interact in the leptin-signaling pathway to regulate feeding behavior. FASEB J 2005: 19(9), 1131-1133.
Gonadotropin releasing hormone Hypothalamus Stimulate FSH and LH release from pituitary

Part of HPG axis

Drive secondary sex characteristics

Regulate sex hormone release

Histamine induces GnRH release in some studies Noris G, et al. Histamine directly stimulates gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion from GT1-1 cells via H1 receptors coupled to phosphoinositide hydrolysis. Endrocrinology 1995: 136(7), 2967-2974.
Growth hormone releasing hormone Hypothalamus Stimulate growth hormone release from pituitary

Regulates bone growth

Regulates metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids

Induces mast cell degranulation and release of serotonin and histamine, causing low blood pressure Macia RA, et al. Hypotension induced by growth hormone releasing peptide is mediated by mast cell serotonin release in the rat. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 1990: 104(3), 403-410.
Hepcidin Liver Decreases iron absorption in intestines

Decreases iron release by macrophages

Chronic inflammation causes elevated hepcidin, making iron less available. This is called anemia of chronic inflammation. Weiss G. Anemia of chronic disorders: new diagnostic tools and new treatment strategies. Seminars in Hematology 2015: 52(4), 313-320.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) Placenta Maintains hormone release in ovaries during pregnancy

Inhibition of immune defense against fetus

Not known to directly affect mast cell activation or histamine release Schumacher A, et al. Endocrine factors modulating immune responses in pregnancy. Front Immunol 2014: 5, 196.