ANSES | Histamine: Data sheet on foodborne biological hazards | March 2021
Histamine is a biogenic amine naturally occurring in the
body. It is a neurotransmitter that interacts with four types of
receptors present in smooth muscles, the stomach, the heart,
nerve fibers, and immune and inflammatory cells. Histamine
is involved in many physiological functions, as well as in
inflammatory and allergic processes. It is synthesised in the
body by enzymatic decarboxylation from histidine, and is
mainly stored in immune cells called mast cells, which
release it when activated by a pathogen or allergen.
Other biogenic amines such as putrescine, cadaverine,
spermidine, spermine, tryptamine, tyramine and
phenylethylamine may be found in food and cause similar
effects to histamine, or potentiate effects when several of
them are present.
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