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ANSES | Histamine: Data sheet on foodborne biological hazards | March 2021

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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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