What are Biogenic Amines?
Biogenic amines are naturally occurring biologically active compounds with a low molecular weight and with one or more amine groups. They include three classes of neurotransmitters:
- Catecholamines: Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Adrenaline
Catecholamine is the name of a group of aromatic amines (noradrenaline, adrenaline, dopamine, and their derivatives) which act as hormones and neurotransmitters, respectively.
- Indoleamines: Serotonin and Melatonin
Indoleamines are organic compounds made up of indole groups that have an amine group on them. Indoles, as nitrogen-containing molecules are involved in many biologically active molecules. Both melatonin and serotonin are neurohormones that play significant roles in the regulation of hormonal and neurological processes and responses to environmental stimuli in a wide range of species.
Histamine (β-imidazole-ethylamine), a biogenic amine, is a product of the histidine metabolism. It is produced by decarboxylation of histidine. Histamine is widely distributed in mammalian tissues and it plays a major role in the initial phase of an anaphylactic reaction. It is also involved in the regulation of physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter.
Why Measure Biogenic Amines?
Biogenic amines are implicated in a wide range of behaviors ranging from central homeostatic functions to cognitive phenomena such as attention. It is important to measure biogenic amines because of their involvement in these significant and intricate physiological functions within the body. In fact, they can be used to study numerous health conditions and disease states such as hypertension, degenerative cardiac diseases, schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis. Measuring these analytes provide unique insight for assisting researchers at the forefront of neurobiology research and therapeutic drug targets.
Purves, D et al., editors. The Biogenic Amines. Neuroscience 2nd edition 2001; Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11035