Histamine N-Methyltransferase in the Brain

Takeo Yoshikawa, Tadaho Nakamura, Kazuhiko Yanai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Brain histamine is a neurotransmitter and regulates diverse physiological functions. Previous studies have shown the involvement of histamine depletion in several neurological disorders, indicating the importance of drug development targeting the brain histamine system. Histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) is a histamine-metabolising enzyme expressed in the brain. Although pharmacological studies using HNMT inhibitors have been conducted to reveal the direct involvement of HNMT in brain functions, HNMT inhibitors with high specificity and sufficient blood–brain barrier permeability have not been available until now. Recently, we have phenotyped Hnmt-deficient mice to elucidate the importance of HNMT in the central nervous system. Hnmt disruption resulted in a robust increase in brain histamine concentration, demonstrating the essential role of HNMT in the brain histamine system. Clinical studies have suggested that single nucleotide polymorphisms of the human HNMT gene are associated with several brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Postmortem studies also have indicated that HNMT expression is altered in human brain diseases. These findings emphasise that an increase in brain histamine levels by novel HNMT inhibitors could contribute to the improvement of brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number737
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1


  • Diamine oxidase
  • Histamine
  • Histamine H3 receptor
  • Histamine N-methyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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