Which Cells Secrete Histamines That Trigger Inflammatory Pathways?



I'm Joanne
I’m a Naturopath, MTHFR & Methylation Specialist. I’m dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals so you can live a vibrant & fulfilling life

Which Cells Secrete Histamines That Trigger Inflammatory Pathways?


Various cells in the body release histamines as part of the immune response. They play a crucial role in triggering inflammatory pathways, which are essential for the body’s defense against harmful pathogens and tissue damage. In this article, we will explore the cells responsible for secreting histamines and how they contribute to the inflammatory process.

Histamine-Secreting Cells

Several different cell types secrete histamines, each playing a specific role in the inflammatory response. Let’s examine these cells and their contribution to the release of histamines:

1. Mast Cells

Widely distributed throughout the body, especially in tissues that are in close contact with the external environment, such as the skin, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. When activated by an immune response, mast cells release histamines from storage granules within their cytoplasm. This histamine release occurs rapidly and is a key step in initiating the inflammatory cascade.

2. Basophils

A type of white blood cell found in the bloodstream. Like mast cells, basophils release histamine-filled granules upon activation. While primarily involved in allergic reactions and hypersensitivity responses, basophils’ ability to secrete histamines contributes to the overall inflammatory process. 

3. Platelets

Small blood cells involved in blood clotting are also known as thrombocytes.  Besides their role in coagulation, platelets release histamines when activated. This histamine release from platelets can enhance the inflammatory response and promote vascular permeability.

4. Macrophages

Large immune cells that engulf and destroy foreign substances, pathogens, and cellular debris. They also play a role in the release of histamines during inflammation. Macrophages can store and secrete histamines, contributing to the amplification of the immune response.

5. Neutrophils

The most abundant type of white blood cells and are essential for fighting bacterial infections. They play a critical role in the early stages of inflammation and can release histamines as part of their immune response.

6. Lymphocytes

White blood cells that include B cells and T cells. While lymphocytes are primarily involved in adaptive immune responses, they can secrete histamines during inflammatory reactions as part of their contribution to the overall inflammatory cascade. 

7. Keratinocytes

The predominant cells found in the outermost layer of the skin, known as the epidermis. In addition to their role as a physical barrier, keratinocytes can secrete histamines in response to various stimuli, contributing to skin inflammation and allergic reactions.

8. Endothelial Cells and Smooth Muscle Cells

The inner lining of blood vessels is formed by endothelial cells, and the walls of blood vessels contain smooth muscle cells. Both cell types can release histamines upon activation, leading to vasodilation and increased vascular permeability, key features of the inflammatory response.


  1. Galli SJ, Tsai M. Mast cells in allergy and infection: versatile effector and regulatory cells in innate and adaptive immunity. Eur J Immunol. 2010;40(7):1843-1851. doi:10.1002/eji.201040559  PMID: 20583030
  2. Sokol CL, Luster AD. The chemokine system in innate immunity. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2015;7(5):a016303. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a016303 PMID: 25635046


This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

Special Offer: Get my Ultimate Histamine Intolerance Bundle.