Dopaminergic effects of histamine administration in the nucleus accumbens and the impact of H1-receptor blockade

Neuropharmacology. 2001 Mar;40(4):624-33. doi: 10.1016/s0028-3908(00)00181-7.


The mesolimbic dopamine system is thought to play a critical role in reward-related processes. A number of studies have shown that lesion or inhibition of histaminergic neurons acting through H1 receptors can potentiate the effects of drug-induced reward (e.g., psychostimulants and opioids) and can enhance the reinforcing effects of electrical stimulation of the brain. Since dopamine transmission in the nucleus accumbens is thought to provide a crucial link in these histaminergic actions, we examined the effects of local histamine application (0.1, 1.0 and 10.0 micromol/l) on dopamine and its metabolites in the nucleus accumbens of anesthetized rats by means of unilateral reverse dialysis. To study the influence of H1 receptors, we also applied the H1-receptor antagonist pyrilamine (10.0 and 20.0 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) 20 min before histamine administration (1 mmol/l). Finally, pyrilamine (0.1, 1.0 and 10.0 micromol/l) was locally administered into the nucleus accumbens. The data show that histamine can enhance extracellular dopamine levels in the nucleus accumbens in a dose-dependent way. This increase was partially antagonized by prior peripheral administration of 10 mg/kg, and was completely blocked by 20 mg/kg, of pyrilamine. Finally, intra-accumbens administration of pyrilamine locally decreased dopamine and increased dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid levels. These data are discussed with respect to the possible interactions between dopaminergic and histaminergic mechanisms in the mesolimbic system and their relation to mechanisms of reinforcement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Interactions
  • Histamine / administration & dosage
  • Histamine / pharmacology*
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Homovanillic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Pyrilamine / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / drug effects
  • Time Factors


  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Receptors, Histamine H1
  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic Acid
  • Histamine
  • Pyrilamine
  • Dopamine
  • Homovanillic Acid