High-performance liquid chromatographic determination of histamine in biological samples: the cerebrospinal fluid challenge--a review

Anal Chim Acta. 2013 Apr 24;774:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2012.12.041. Epub 2013 Jan 3.


Histamine, a neurotransmitter crucially involved in a number of basic physiological functions, undergoes changes in neuropsychiatric disorders. Detection of histamine in biological samples such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is thus of clinical importance. The most commonly used method for measuring histamine levels is high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). However, factors such as very low levels of histamine, the even lower CSF-histamine and CSF-histamine metabolite levels, especially in certain neuropsychiatric diseases, rapid formation of histamine metabolites, and other confounding elements during sample collection, make analysis of CSF-histamine and CSF-histamine metabolites a challenging task. Nonetheless, this challenge can be met, not only with respect to HPLC separation column, derivative reagent, and detector, but also in terms of optimizing the CSF sample collection. This review aims to provide a general insight into the quantitative analyses of histamine in biological samples, with an emphasis on HPLC instruments, methods, and hyphenated techniques, with the aim of promoting the development of an optimal and practical protocol for the determination of CSF-histamine and/or CSF-histamine metabolites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / instrumentation
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Histamine / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Histamine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Imidazoles / metabolism
  • Methylhistamines / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Methylhistamines / metabolism


  • Imidazoles
  • Methylhistamines
  • methylimidazoleacetic acid
  • Histamine
  • tele-methylhistamine