Agents and Actions

, Volume 16, Issue 3–4, pp 144–146 | Cite as

Histamine secretion induced byN-acetyl cysteine

  • K. E. Barrett
  • J. R. Minor
  • D. D. Metcalfe
Mechanisms of Histamine Release


The mucolytic drugN-acetyl cysteine has been shown to release histamine from cultured mouse mast cells and from human basophils. At neutral pH the release was moderate and non-cytotoxic. If the acidity of the drug was not neutralized, this histamine release was markedly potentiated, but was then associated with a reduction in the viability of the cells. However, the high level of release could not be reproduced by simply exposing the cells to an acidic medium. The results are discussed in terms of a possible mechanism for the adverse reactions sometimes observed duringN-acetyl cysteine therapy.


Cysteine Mast Cell Histamine Adverse Reaction Acidic Medium 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Barrett
    • 1
  • J. R. Minor
    • 2
  • D. D. Metcalfe
    • 1
  1. 1.Allergic Diseases Section, Laboratory of Clinical InvestigationNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Pharmacy Department, Clinical CentreNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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