Histamine exerts its actions through four known receptors. The recently cloned histamine receptor, H4R, has been shown to have a role in chemotaxis and mediator release in various types of immune cells including mast cells, eosinophils, dendritic cells and T cells. H4R antagonists have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and efficacy in a number of disease models, such as those for asthma and colitis in vivo. Recently, H4R antagonists have been developed with high receptor affinity and specificity, which make them good tools for further characterisation of the receptor in animal models and, eventually, in humans. Histamine and the cells that produce it, such as mast cells and basophils, have long been thought to be involved in allergic conditions but there has recently been recognition that they may also play a role in various autoimmune diseases. Given this and the fact that the H4R has function in mast cells, dendritic cells and T cells, antagonists for the receptor may be useful in treating autoimmune diseases in addition to allergy.