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Leslie L. Iversen

, Susan D. Iversen

, Floyd E. Bloom

, and Robert H. Roth

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date: 06 August 2021

Since the beginning of this century, when Henry Dale demonstrated that histamine is an endogenous tissue constituent and a potent stimulator of a variety of cells, this substance has been thought to act as a neurotransmitter. However, direct evidence to support this concept accumulated slowly. The challenge posed by histamine to neuropharmacologists has led to a vigorous chase across meadows of enticing hypotheses surrounded by bogs of confusion and dubious methodology. At last, more than 75 years after its isolation from the pituitary by J. J. Abel, the role of histamine in the brain seems to have been resolved by recognizing that this diamine occurs in two types of cells: mast cells (found in some, but not all, mammalian brains) and (more consistently) magnocellular neurons in the posterior hypothalamus.

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