The key difference between histamine and cytokines is that histamines are responsible for the symptoms of allergic conditions, whereas cytokines regulate various aspects of immune responses, such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and inflammation.
The human body contains a vast number of chemicals. They perform many different functions in the body. These chemicals may be carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins. The body produces most of these chemicals. These chemical compounds have roles in different biochemical reactions, leading to different biological functions like maintaining the body’s defense mechanism and coordination. Histamines and cytokines are two such chemical compounds.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Histamine
– Definition, Function, Features
2. What are Cytokines
– Definition, Function, Features
3. Difference Between Histamine and Cytokines
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is Histamine
Histamine is an organic nitrogenous compound (an amine) that is responsible for the symptoms of allergies. It is a biologically active substance present in a variety of living organisms. It consists of an ethyl amine chain attached to an imidazole ring. The amino group of the side chain is protonated under physiological conditions. The IUPAC name of histamine is 2-(1H-Imidazol-4-yl) ethanamine.
When certain substances, such as pollen dust, pet dander, and dust particles, enter the body, the body mistakenly believes these harmless substances to be harmful. Then, in order to protect the body, the immune system starts chain reactions that cause the body to release histamine into the blood. Histamines then act on various parts of the body to bring about allergy symptoms. Histamines boost the blood flow in the area of allergy and cause inflammation. The allergic reactions thus formed include sneezing and tearing up. Histamines are also associated with food allergies. When a person eats food that is allergic to them, the gut releases to trigger and form allergic reactions. Antihistamine medication helps to reduce such allergic reactions.
Histamines are also present in food. Fermented foods, alcohol, packaged meat, aged cheese, citrus fruit, and lemon are some food items rich in histamines. The histamine content in aged, processed, and fermented food is always higher than that of fresh foods.
What are Cytokines
Cytokines are small proteins secreted from cells involved in inflammations and cellular communications. They are immunomodulating agents, meaning that they alter the immune system response. They are very small and membrane-bound. Cytokines are the molecules that perform cell signaling to help in the communications in immune responses. They also stimulate the movement of cells toward the site of inflammation, trauma, or infection. Cytokines are an essential factor in controlling the growth and activity of blood cells and immune system cells. Cytokines are also useful in treatments for cancer. Furthermore, injecting cytokines intramuscularly, subcutaneously, or intravenously can help manage and prevent the side effects of chemotherapy. However, having too many cytokines can also lead to excess inflammation and adverse effects like autoimmune diseases.
A diverse range of cells in the body produces cytokines. Cytokines may be named according to the cells they are produced in, the function they perform, and the target of action. For example, cytokines produced by lymphocytes are called lymphokines. Monocytes or macrophages secrete cytokines monokines, while cytokines with chemotactic activity are chemokines.
Cytokines and their receptors bind to each other due to their very high affinity. Moreover, they can exhibit autocrine action, paracrine action, and endocrine activity. These cytokines can also be made in the laboratory.
Difference Between Histamine and Cytokines
Histamines are a type of molecule responsible for the symptoms of allergic conditions, whereas cytokines are a group of protein molecules that regulates various aspects of immune responses, such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and inflammation.
Type of Chemicals
Histamine is an ammine, whereas cytokine is a protein.
While histamines generate symptoms of allergic conditions in the body, cytokines regulate various aspects of immune responses, such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and inflammation.
Histamines are produced in mast cells, basophils, and other immune cells, whereas cytokines are produced in many different types of cells, including helper T cells.
Histamines and cytokines are two different chemical compounds vital for certain body functions. The main difference between histamine and cytokines is that histamines are a type of molecule responsible for the symptoms of allergic conditions, whereas cytokines are a group of protein molecules that regulates various aspects of immune responses such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and inflammation.
1. “Foods High in Histamine.” Nourish by WebMD.
2. “Cytokines, Inflammation and Pain.” National Library of Medicine.
1. “Figure 42 01 04” By CNX OpenStax – (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cytokine release” By Scientific Animations – (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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