Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 May;38(6):1015-31. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.266. Epub 2013 Jan 2.

Enhanced histaminergic neurotransmission and sleep-wake alterations, a study in histamine H3-receptor knock-out mice.

Author information

Integrative Physiology of the Brain Arousal Systems, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, INSERM U1028-CNRS UMR 5292, Faculty of Medicine, Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France.


Long-term abolition of a brain arousal system impairs wakefulness (W), but little is known about the consequences of long-term enhancement. The brain histaminergic arousal system is under the negative control of H3-autoreceptors whose deletion results in permanent enhancement of histamine (HA) turnover. In order to determine the consequences of enhancement of the histaminergic system, we compared the cortical EEG and sleep-wake states of H3-receptor knockout (H3R-/-) and wild-type mouse littermates. We found that H3R-/-mice had rich phenotypes. On the one hand, they showed clear signs of enhanced HA neurotransmission and vigilance, i.e., a higher EEG θ power during spontaneous W and a greater extent of W or sleep restriction during behavioral tasks, including environmental change, locomotion, and motivation tests. On the other hand, during the baseline dark period, they displayed deficient W and signs of sleep deterioration, such as pronounced sleep fragmentation and reduced cortical slow activity during slow wave sleep (SWS), most likely due to a desensitization of postsynaptic histaminergic receptors as a result of constant HA release. Ciproxifan (H3-receptor inverse agonist) enhanced W in wild-type mice, but not in H3R-/-mice, indicating a functional deletion of H3-receptors, whereas triprolidine (postsynaptic H1-receptor antagonist) or α-fluoromethylhistidine (HA-synthesis inhibitor) caused a greater SWS increase in H3R-/- than in wild-type mice, consistent with enhanced HA neurotransmission. These sleep-wake characteristics and the obesity phenotypes previously reported in this animal model suggest that chronic enhancement of histaminergic neurotransmission eventually compromises the arousal system, leading to sleep-wake, behavioral, and metabolic disorders similar to those caused by voluntary sleep restriction in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center