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Agents Actions. 1994 Oct;42(3-4):95-100.

Presynaptic histamine H2 receptors modulate the sympathetic nerve transmission in the isolated rat vas deferens; no role for H3-receptors.

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Institute of Pharmacology, University of Parma, School of Medicine, Italy.


The modulatory activity mediated by histamine receptors on the sympathetic nerve transmission was investigated in the rat vas deferens. Agonists and antagonists acting at the different histamine receptor subtypes (H1, H2 and H3) were tested on electrically-driven preparations in vitro. Low-frequency stimulation (0.1 Hz) evoked muscle contractions almost completely-sustained by ATP release, while at high-frequency stimulation (5-10 Hz) norepinephrine was mainly involved. The H1 receptor agonists, pyridilethylamine and 2-(2 aminoethyl)thiazole, enhanced the electrically evoked twitch responses, but not contractions induced by exogenously-applied norepinephrine and ATP. These effects were prevented by the H1-blocking drugs, mepyramine and phenyramine, but only at high concentrations (10 mumol/l). All these H1-antagonists strongly enhanced muscle response to electrical stimulation. The H2 receptor agonists, dimaprit, amthamine and impromidine, reduced the contractions evoked by field stimulation, but not by exogenously applied norepinephrine and ATP, the effect being antagonised by H2-blocking drugs, ranitidine and famotidine. The H3 receptor agonist, R(alpha)-methylhistamine, reduced the electrically evoked muscle contractions, the effect being not modified by the selective H3-blocking drug, thioperamide, but prevented by famotidine. These data suggest that rat vas deferens contains presynaptic histamine H2 receptors, able to mediate inhibitory effects on the sympathetic transmission, while histamine H3 receptors are apparently not involved. On the contrary, the role of H1 is still unclear, since both agonists and antagonists may have the same effects.

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