Histamine neurons in human hypothalamus: anatomy in normal and Alzheimer diseased brains

Neuroscience. 1991;44(2):465-81. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(91)90070-5.


The anatomy of histamine-immunoreactive cell bodies in normal adult human brain was examined in detail. In addition, the distribution of these cells in three cases of Alzheimer's disease was compared to the distribution of neurofibrillary tangles. Histamine-immunoreactive cell bodies were confined to the tuberal and posterior hypothalamus, forming the tuberomammillary nuclear complex. Most of the about 64,000 histamine neurons were large and multipolar. They comprised four distinct parts: (i) a major ventral part corresponding to the classical tuberomammillary nucleus, (ii) a medial part including the supramammillary nucleus and part of the posterior hypothalamic area, (iii) a caudal paramammillary part, and (iv) a minor lateral part. The parts showed some similarity with the subgroups in rat. In human, as compared to rat, the histamine neurons occupy a larger proportion of the hypothalamus. Numerous neurofibrillary tangles were found in the Alzheimer hypothalami, concentrated in the tuberomammillary area. Most of them were of globular type and extracellular, and only a minority were histamine immunoreactive. They may represent remnants of degenerated tuberomammillary neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Histamine / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / pathology
  • Neurofibrillary Tangles / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Reference Values
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Histamine