Association of the HistamineN-Methyltransferase C314T (Thr105Ile) Polymorphism with Atopic Dermatitis in Caucasian Children

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Study Objective.

To investigate potential associations between the histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) gene, HNMT, C314T (Thr105Ile) polymorphism and atopic dermatitis in a cohort of Caucasian children.


Prospective, multicenter, genotype-association study.


Four academic, tertiary care medical centers within the Pediatric Pharmacology Research Unit network.


Two hundred forty-nine Caucasian children aged 6 months-5 years with atopic dermatitis (127 patients) or without (122 control subjects).


Buccal swabs (one swab/cheek) were performed to obtain epithelial cells for extraction of genomic DNA.

Measurements and Main Results.

Data were collected on severity of atopic dermatitis, oral antihistamine treatment, and treatment response through parental report. The HNMT genotypes were successfully obtained in 116 control subjects and 122 patients with atopic dermatitis. Frequencies of the T314 variant allele (0.12 vs 0.06, p=0.04) and combined CT/TT genotype (0.24 vs 0.12, p=0.02) were significantly higher in children with atopic dermatitis compared with control subjects. Children with genotypes conferring reduced HNMT activity were 2 times more likely to have atopic dermatitis than those who were homozygous for the C314 reference allele.


Increased histamine levels in patients with atopic dermatitis may result, at least in part, from reduced enzymatic inactivation via HNMT. Genetically associated reduction in histamine biotransformation may therefore contribute to the pathogenesis, persistence, and progression of atopic dermatitis. If confirmed, these data indicate that HNMT genotype might represent a common risk factor for development of atopic dermatitis, asthma, and allergic rhinitis and may be useful in identifying individuals who are candidates for early preventive pharmacotherapeutic intervention. Additional longitudinal studies will be required to assess the relationship between genotype, disease severity, and antihistamine response.

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