Potentiation and suppression of the histamine response by raising and lowering the temperature in canine visceral polymodal receptors in vitro

Neurosci Lett. 1999 Apr 30;266(1):9-12. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(99)00257-8.


It is well known that itch and inflammatory pain are enhanced when tissue is warmed, while they are suppressed when tissue is cooled. To see whether these changed sensations are based on the changed response of sensory receptors, the temperature dependency of the excitation of polymodal receptors induced by histamine, which plays an important role both in itch and inflammatory pain, was studied. Single nerve activities of polymodal receptors were recorded from canine testis-spermatic nerve preparations in vitro. Raising the temperature from 34 to 40 degrees C, a temperature below the threshold for the heat response of polymodal receptors, facilitated the histamine-induced nerve discharge to 268% of that at 34 degrees C, while lowering the temperature to 28 degrees C decreased it to 25%. Facilitation of the histamine response was also observed in the noxious temperature range (48 and 51 degrees C). These results suggest that the potentiation of the histamine-induced sensation by increasing the tissue temperature, as well as its suppression by lowering tissue temperature, can be explained by a temperature-dependent response of peripheral sensory receptors to histamine. However, the suppression of itch by noxious heat reported by Bickford (Bickford, R.G., Experiments relating to the itch sensation, its peripheral mechanism, and central pathways, Clin. Sci. Incorp. Heart, 3 (1937) 377-386) cannot be explained by the noxious heat-induced facilitation of the peripheral receptor response reported in this paper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / physiology*
  • Dogs
  • Histamine Release / physiology*
  • Hot Temperature
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / metabolism
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology


  • Receptors, Histamine H1