Histamine modulates thalamocortical activity by activating a chloride conductance in ferret perigeniculate neurons

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Apr 27;101(17):6716-21. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0400817101. Epub 2004 Apr 19.


In the mammalian central nervous system only gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine have been firmly linked to inhibition of neuronal activity through increases in membrane Cl(-) conductance, and these responses are mediated by ionotropic receptors. Iontophoretic application of histamine can also cause inhibitory responses in vivo, although the mechanisms of this inhibition are unknown and may involve pre- or postsynaptic factors. Here, we report that application of histamine to the GABAergic neurons of the thalamic perigeniculate nucleus (PGN), which is innervated by histaminergic fibers from the tuberomammillary nucleus of the hypothalamus, causes a slow membrane hyperpolarization toward a reversal potential of -73 mV through a relatively small increase in membrane conductance to Cl(-). This histaminergic action appears to be mediated by the H(2) subclass of histaminergic receptors and inhibits the single-spike activity of these PGN GABAergic neurons. Application of histamine to the PGN could halt the generation of spindle waves, indicating that increased activity in the tuberomammillary histaminergic system may play a functional role in dampening thalamic oscillations in the transition from sleep to arousal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Chloride Channels / physiology*
  • Female
  • Ferrets
  • Histamine / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Thalamus / cytology
  • Thalamus / physiology*


  • Chloride Channels
  • Histamine