Opposite functions of histamine H1 and H2 receptors and H3 receptor in substantia nigra pars reticulata


The substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) is a key basal ganglia output nucleus. Inhibitory outputs from SNr are encoded in spike frequency and pattern of the inhibitory SNr projection neurons. SNr output intensity and pattern are often abnormal in movement disorders of basal ganglia origin. In Parkinson's disease, histamine innervation and histamine H3 receptor expression in SNr may be increased. However, the functional consequences of these alterations are not known. In this study, whole cell patch-clamp recordings were used to elucidate the function of different histamine receptors in SNr. Histamine increased SNr inhibitory projection neuron firing frequency and thus inhibitory output. This effect was mediated by activation of histamine H 1 and H2 receptors that induced inward currents and depolarization. In contrast, histamine H3 receptor activation hyperpolarized and inhibited SNr inhibitory projection neurons, thus decreasing the intensity of basal ganglia output. By the hyperpolarization, H3 receptor activation also increased the irregularity of the interspike intervals or changed the pattern of SNr inhibitory neuron firing. H3 receptor-mediated effects were normally dominated by those mediated by H 1 and H2 receptors. Furthermore, endogenously released histamine provided a tonic, H1 and H2 receptor-mediated excitation that helped keep SNr inhibitory projection neurons sufficiently depolarized and spiking regularly. These results suggest that H1 and H2 receptors and H3 receptor exert opposite effects on SNr inhibitory projection neurons. Functional balance of these different histamine receptors may contribute to the proper intensity and pattern of basal ganglia output and, as a consequence, exert important effects on motor control. Copyright © 2006 The American Physiological Society.

Publication Title

Journal of Neurophysiology