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Name: Abigail
Status: Student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: August 2004


Question:
what are the histamines resposible for? is it depresssion, alergies or blindnesss?



Replies:
Histamine "no suffix -s" refers to a specific compound that is a potent inflammatory vasodilator naturally found in the body. Its function is to increase the supply of blood to an injury or foreign substance that enters the body. It can have a wide variety of physiological responses. For example it stimulates the secretion of pepsin and acid by the stomach. Histamines refer to related chemical compounds that stimulate similar responses. Because vasodilation can produce a spectrum of physiological consequences, it is difficult to say that histamines don't affect a particular response in an individual. Itching, swelling, redness are all effects of histamines. Of the symptoms you list -- depression, allergies, and blindness -- certainly histamines are directly responsible for allergies. But one cannot rule out whether histamines play (or don't play) a role in those, and other conditions.

You can find some additional info on the Newton Websites below.

www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99385.htm

www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/mole00/mole00321.htm

Vince Calder


I have answered questions regarding histamine and antihistamines and hives, which are all related so allow me to give a somewhat general answer to what histamine is or does.

Histamine is a chemical that is found pretty much throughout the human body and in highest concentrations in lung, skin and upper gastrointestinal tract. Basophiles, or mast cells contain large basic staining granules that store considerable amounts of histamine and these are the typical culprits of histamine release. Histamine can be released from these cells following various physical disruption including contact (e.g., a scratch on the skin...contact urticaria), contact with cold (e.g., ice on the skin) or chemical initiation such as in "allergic responses" where contact with an allergin like pollen causes the body to release IgE antibodies which in turn bind to mast cells which then cause the mast cells to release their histamine. In the skin, if contact or chemical initiation of histamine release occurs, the classic response follows: vasodilation (blood vessel expand), increased capillary permeability (capillaries leak fluid and some cells into the spaces between cells), and erythema (the area becomes red)...A HIVE! Glandular hypersecretion (nose and brochioles release mucous), smooth muscle spasm, and tissue infiltration with eosinophils and other inflammatory cells are also responses of respiratory system tissues.

The most common causes of hives is allergies to foods but drugs and viral infections can trigger hives for weeks to months. As I wrote above, hives can also be caused by contact with something hard ( a scratch), cold, or even sunlight. Foods that are common culprits in causing hives are, fresh berries, chocolate, nuts, certain fish, tomatoes, eggs, and dairy products. Too bas spinach and kale and a all those other things we don't find enticing are not common causes and easier to give up. Food additives and preservatives also are reasonably common causes of hives.

Hives can appear within minutes to hours and last for minutes to hours...even days in some cases.

I have my theories on what the "normal function of histamine is but suffice to say that scientists are still arguing why our bodies have histamine other than to aggravate us.

pf



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