A Duet Between Histamine and Oleoylethanolamide in the Control of Homeostatic and Cognitive Processes

Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2022:59:389-410. doi: 10.1007/7854_2021_236.


In ballet, a pas de deux (in French it means "step of two") is a duet in which the two dancers perform ballet steps together. The suite of dances shares a common theme of partnership. How could we better describe the fine interplay between oleoylethanolamide (OEA) and histamine, two phylogenetically ancient molecules controlling metabolic, homeostatic and cognitive processes? Contrary to the pas de deux though, the two dancers presumably never embrace each other as a dancing pair but execute their "virtuoso solo" constantly exchanging interoceptive messages presumably via vagal afferents, the blood stream, the neuroenteric system. With one exception, which is in the control of liver ketogenesis, as in hepatocytes, OEA biosynthesis strictly depends on the activation of histaminergic H1 receptors. In this review, we recapitulate our main findings that evidence the interplay of histamine and OEA in the control of food consumption and eating behaviour, in the consolidation of emotional memory and mood, and finally, in the synthesis of ketone bodies. We will also summarise some of the putative underlying mechanisms for each scenario.

Keywords: Appetite; Ketogenesis; Memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Ethanolamine
  • Histamine* / metabolism
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Oleic Acids* / pharmacology


  • Endocannabinoids
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Oleic Acids
  • oleoyl ethanolamine
  • oleoylethanolamide
  • Ethanolamine
  • Histamine