To identify histamine-producing cells at the late phase of allergic inflammation, the expression of L-histidine decarboxylase (HDC) was examined in the infiltrating leucocytes in the inflammatory locus. HDC activity and HDC mRNA levels in the infiltrating leucocytes in the pouch fluid of the immunized rats (that were injected with the antigen solution into the air pouch) were increased compared with those in the infiltrating leucocytes of the non-immunized rats. When infiltrating leucocytes collected 8 hr after antigen injection were cultured, histamine production by the cells from the immunized rats was higher than that from the non-immunized rats. In situ hybridization of HDC mRNA revealed that almost all the infiltrating leucocytes of the immunized rats, 4 hr after injection of the antigen, expressed HDC mRNA with high intensity, while those of the nonimmunized rats showed only a weak intensity of HDC mRNA. In the immunized rats, approximate 90% of leucocytes infiltrating in the pouch fluid at 4 hr were neutrophils and 8%, were monocytes/macrophages. Neither mast cells nor basophils were detected in the infiltrating leucocytes. When rat peritoneal neutrophils were incubated in the presence of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate, histamine production was significantly increased. These findings suggest that the leucocytes, mainly neutrophils, infiltrating at the inflammatory locus are responsible for histamine production at the late phase of allergic inflammation.