Spermine is one of the polyamines involved in cellular metabolism found in all Eukaryotic cells. Formed from spermidine, it is found in a wide variety of organisms and tissues and is an essential growth factor in some bacteria. It is found as a polycation at all pH values. Spermine is associated with nucleic acids and is thought to stabilize helical structure, particularly in viruses.
Crystals of spermine phosphate were first described in 1678, in human semen, by Anton van Leeuwenhoek. The name spermin was first used by the German chemists Ladenburg and Abel in 1888, and the correct structure of spermine was not finally established until 1926, simultaneously in England (by Dudley, Rosenheim, and Starling) and Germany (by Wrede. et al).