Histamine and spontaneous motor activity: biphasic changes, receptors involved and participation of the striatal dopamine system

Life Sci. 1998;62(20):1875-88. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(98)00154-4.


The time- and dose-related effects of exogenous histamine on spontaneous motor activity and receptors involved were evaluated in male rats. Intracerebroventricular administration of histamine (5.4 and 54.3 nmol) produced a biphasic effect with initial transitory hypoactivity and later hyperactivity expressed by locomotion frequency in an open-field. The rearing frequencies were only reduced by all doses of histamine used. The histamine-induced hypoactivity was inhibited by the H3-antagonist thioperamide and was also induced by the H3-agonist N-alpha-methylhistamine. The histamine-induced hyperactivity phase was blocked by the H1-antagonist mepyramine. The H2-antagonist ranitidine increased locomotion and rearing frequencies. The participation of other neurotransmitters in the persistent hypokinetic effect induced by 135.8 nmol of histamine was determined by HPLC in the striatum and hypothalamus as counter-proof. A decreased DOPAC/DA ratio was observed only in the striatum. In the hypothalamus, low levels of 5HT were detected, probably not correlated with motor activity. In conclusion, the present results suggest that the exogenous histamine-induced hypoactivity response is probably due to activation of H3-receptors as heteroreceptors reducing the activity of the striatal dopaminergic system. This effect can partially overlap with the expression of the hyperactivity induced by H1-receptor activation. The participation of H2-receptors requires further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Histamine / pharmacology*
  • Histamine Agonists / pharmacology
  • Histamine Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Histamine H3 / metabolism*
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Histamine Agonists
  • Histamine Antagonists
  • Receptors, Histamine H1
  • Receptors, Histamine H3
  • Serotonin
  • Histamine
  • Dopamine