The effect of histamine and H1 and H2 receptors on prolactin and luteinizing hormone release in humans: sex differences and the role of stress

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1981 May;52(5):924-8. doi: 10.1210/jcem-52-5-924.


The present experiments were performed to investigate the possible role of histamine and its receptors, H1 and H2, in the control of PRL and LH release in normal adult humans of both sexes. Histamine infusion (200 microgram, iv, in 15 min) induced PRL and LH release in men; in women, histamine inhibited LH release without affecting PRL release. Two H1 antagonists, dexchlorpheniramine (10 mg, iv) and promethazine (50 mg, im), reduced PRL release in both sexes, stimulated LH release in men, and inhibited LH release in women. Cimetidine, an H2 antagonist (400 mg, iv), elicited PRL release in both sexes, more consistently in females than in males, and was without effect on LH release in either sex. These data suggest that in humans, the effect of histamine on PRL release is linked to H1 and H2 receptors, which respectively stimulate and inhibit PRL release independently of sex. The effect of histamine on LH release appears to depend on sex and to be mediated only by H1 receptors. To rule out the possibility that the effects of histamine are merely due to a nonspecific stress reaction, we have evaluated PRL and LH release in otherwise normal men and women undergoing surgery for gallstones. Surgery was accompanied by PRL release in both sexes, more evident in women, and by LH release only in men. These results indicate that the effect of histamine on PRL and LH release in humans is linked to sex and H1 and H2 receptors and is not due to stress; further studies are required to clarify the possible mechanism and site of action of histamine in modifying PRL and LH release in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlorpheniramine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Histamine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood*
  • Male
  • Prolactin / blood*
  • Promethazine / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Histamine / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Histamine H2 / metabolism*
  • Sex Factors
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Stress, Physiological / blood*


  • Receptors, Histamine
  • Receptors, Histamine H1
  • Receptors, Histamine H2
  • dexchlorpheniramine
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Histamine
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Promethazine