What is the role of histamine in the pathogenesis of anaphylaxis?

Updated: May 16, 2018
  • Author: S Shahzad Mustafa, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Under rigid experimental conditions, histamine infusion alone is sufficient to produce most of the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Histamine mediates its effects through activation of histamine 1 (H1) and histamine 2 (H2) receptors.

Vasodilation, hypotension, and flushing are mediated by both H1 receptors and H1 receptors. H1 receptors alone mediate coronary artery vasoconstriction, tachycardia, vascular permeability, pruritus, bronchospasm, and rhinorrhea. H2 receptors increase atrial and ventricular contractility, atrial chronotropy, and coronary artery vasodilation. H3 receptors in experimental models of canine anaphylaxis appear to influence cardiovascular responses to norepinephrine. The importance of H3 receptors in humans is unknown.

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