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Neuroscience. 2008 Dec 2;157(3):532-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.09.025. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

Episodic-like and procedural memory impairments in histamine H1 Receptor knockout mice coincide with changes in acetylcholine esterase activity in the hippocampus and dopamine turnover in the cerebellum.

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  • 1Institute of Physiological Psychology, Center for Biological and Medical Research, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, Universitätsstr. 1, D-40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


We investigated episodic-like (ELM) and procedural memory (PM) in histamine H1 receptor knockout (H1R-KO) mice. In order to relate possible behavioral deficits to neurobiological changes, we examined H1R-KO and wild-type (WT) mice in terms of acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity in subregions of the hippocampus and AChE and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in the striatum. Furthermore, we analyzed acetylcholine (ACh), 5-HT and dopamine (DA) levels, including metabolites, in the cerebellum of H1R-KO and WT mice. The homozygous H1R-KO mice showed impaired ELM as compared with the heterozygous H1R-KO and WT mice. The performance of homozygous H1R-KO mice in the ELM task was primarily driven by familiarity-based memory processes. While the homozygous H1R-KO mice performed similar to the heterozygous H1R-KO and WT mice during the acquisition of a PM, as measured with an accelerating rotarod, after a retention interval of 7 days their performance was impaired relative to the heterozygous H1R-KO and WT mice. These findings suggest that, both, ELM and long-term PM are impaired in the homozygous H1R-KO mice. Neurochemical assays revealed that the H1R-KO mice had significantly lower levels of AChE activity in the dentate gyrus (DG) and CA1 subregions of the hippocampus as compared with the WT mice. The homozygous H1R-KO mice also displayed significantly reduced dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) levels and a reduced DOPAC/DA ratio in the cerebellum, suggesting that the DA turnover in the cerebellum is decelerated in homozygous H1R-KO mice. In conclusion, homozygous H1R-KO mice display severe long-term memory deficits in, both, ELM and PM, which coincide with changes in AChE activity in the hippocampus as well as DA turnover in the cerebellum. The importance of these findings for Alzheimer's (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD) is discussed.

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