Histamine uptake by human endometrial cells expressing the organic cation transporter EMT and the vesicular monoamine transporter-2

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Cellular reuptake of monoamines, which is mediated by cell membrane transporters, is followed by accumulation in vesicles by vesicular monoamine transporters (VMAT). The aim of this study was to demonstrate the presence of functional monoamine transporters with high affinity for histamine in human endometrial tissue, since histamine has been implicated as a paracrine signal during endometrial decidualization and embryo implantation. In situ hybridization with 35S-labelled cRNA probes was used for detection of the organic cationic transporter-2 (OCT-2), the extraneuronal monoamine transporter (EMT), and VMAT-2 in cryosections of normal human endometrial tissue. To identify functional transporters for histamine in endometrial cells, we incubated primary cultures of stromal cells and cultures of attached glands with 3H-labelled histamine. Cultures were pretreated with either corticosterone, a specific inhibitor of EMT, or reserpine, a specific inhibitor of VMAT-2. EMT mRNA was localized in the stroma with peak expression in the secretory phase, whereas OCT-2 mRNA was expressed by few cells in the stroma throughout the cycle. VMAT-2 mRNA was localized in the stroma during the proliferative phase and in the epithelium during the secretory phase. Thus, EMT and VMAT-2, which both have high affinity for histamine, are strongly expressed in endometrial cells. Both corticosterone and reserpine significantly reduced the uptake of 3H-histamine in stromal cells during the proliferative as well as the secretory phase. This indicates the presence of functional EMT and VMAT-2 transporter proteins throughout the cycle, even though their periods of maximal mRNA expression were limited. The results of uptake experiments with glandular epithelial cells confirmed not only the presence of functional VMAT-2 transporter protein in the secretory phase but also the absence of a histamine-specific plasma membrane transporter throughout the cycle. Thus, endometrial tissue contains both plasma membrane and vesicular membrane monoamine transporters with high affinity for histamine. They can potentially influence the reproductive process by the uptake of extracellular histamine and subsequent release on demand.

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