Semicarbazide-sensitive amine-oxidase (SSAO) is present in various human tissues and in plasma. Oxidative deamination of short-chain aliphatic amines is catalyzed by this enzyme to afford the corresponding aldehydes, ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Methylamine and aminoacetone have been recognized to be physiological substrates for SSAO. There are several pathological states where increased serum SSAO activity have been found, such as diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, multiple types of cerebral infarction, uraemia, and hepatic cirrhosis. The role of SSAO in pathophysiology of diabetes has been most extensively investigated. The elevated formation of the potentially cytotoxic products of the enzyme may contribute to the endothelial injury of blood vessels, resulting in the early development of severe atherosclerosis; it may also contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic angiopathy. It is now suggested that SSAO inhibitors may prevent the development of atherosclerosis and diabetic complications as well. Inhibitors can be conveniently subdivided into the main groups of hydrazine derivatives, arylalkylamines, propenyl- and propargylamines, oxazolidinones, and haloalkylamines. Of them, aryl(alkyl)hydrazines, and 3-halo-2-phenylallylamines are generally very strong SSAO inhibitors. Most of these inhibitors of SSAO have been originally developed for other purposes, or they are simple chemical reagents with highly reactive structural element(s); these compounds have not been able to fulfil all criteria of high potency, selectivity, and acceptable toxicity. New potent compounds with selectivity and low toxicity are needed, which may prove useful tools for understanding the roles and function of SSAO, or they may even be valuable substances for treatment of various diseases.