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Ball-and-stick model of histamine. Blue balls represent nitrogen atoms; black balls represent carbon atoms; and white balls represent hydrogen atoms.
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Alternative forms[edit]


hist(idine) +‎ -amine


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɪstəmiːn/
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histamine (countable and uncountable, plural histamines)

  1. (biochemistry) An amine, C5H9N3, formed by decarboxylation of histidine, that causes dilatation of capillaries, contraction of smooth muscle, and stimulation of gastric acid secretion; it is released during allergic reactions.
    • 1913 June 1, Henderson VE, “Res Judicatae: On the Colon and Ileocolotomy”, in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, volume 3, number 6, page 521:
      Mellanby and Twort have isolated from the fæces a bacillus which is able to produce from one of the amino acids normally formed in digestion of proteins a highly active body, histamine.
    • 2001, Leslie Iversen, Drugs: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, page 46:
      The intake of food triggers a release of histamine, which activates the acid-secreting cells.
    • 2004, Harold McGee, chapter 1, in On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Scribner, →ISBN:
      In a strongly ripened cheese, the casein proteins are broken down to amino acids, and the amino acids can be broken down into amines, small molecules that can serve as chemical signals in the human body. Histamine and tyramine are found in large quantities in Cheddar, blue, Swiss, and Dutch-style cheeses, and can cause a rise in blood pressure, headaches, and rashes in people who are especially sensitive to them.

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histamine f (plural histamines)

  1. histamine

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