What molecule am I?
Histamine is an organic triamine that is a strong vasodilator found in blood and most bodily tissues. It is involved in inflammatory and immune responses. Histamine is stored primarily in mast cells and basophils; it is released in response to tissue damage caused by injury, infection, or allergens.
In 1938, French microbiologists Lévy-Brühl and Ungar showed that pneumococcus bacteria and Balantidium coli biosynthesize histamine from the amino acid histidine. It was later shown that this reaction is catalyzed by the enzyme histidine decarboxylase.
Histamine has many physiological functions, but this time of year we focus on its role in reactions to allergens such as pollen. Allergens bind to the antibody immunoglobulin E in the mucous membranes of the nasal cavity, releasing histamine, and leading to runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Fortunately, many antihistamines are available to combat these symptoms.
Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.