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RhoA and ROCK mediate histamine-induced vascular leakage and anaphylactic shock

Mikelis, CM;Simaan, M;Ando, K;Fukuhara, S;Sakurai, A;Amornphimoltham, P;Masedunskas, A;Weigert, R;Chavakis, T;Adams, RH;Offermanns, S;Mochizuki, N;Zheng, Y;Gutkind, JS;

Histamine-induced vascular leakage is an integral component of many highly prevalent human diseases, including allergies, asthma and anaphylaxis. Yet, how histamine induces the disruption of the endothelial barrier is not well defined. By using genetically modified animal models, pharmacologic inhibitors and a synthetic biology approach, here we show that the small GTPase RhoA mediates histamine-induced vascular leakage. Histamine causes the rapid formation of focal adherens junctions, disrupting the endothelial barrier by acting on H1R Gq-coupled receptors, which is blunted in endothelial Gq/11 KO mice. Interfering with RhoA and ROCK function abolishes endothelial permeability, while phospholipase C plays a limited role. Moreover, endothelial-specific RhoA gene deletion prevents vascular leakage and passive cutaneous anaphylaxis in vivo, and ROCK inhibitors protect from lethal systemic anaphylaxis. This study supports a key role for the RhoA signalling circuitry in vascular permeability, thereby identifying novel pharmacological targets for many human diseases characterized by aberrant vascular leakage.