The effects of L-histidine and of specific histamine receptor agonists, on the expression of morphine tolerance and physical dependence in mice

Agents Actions. 1976 Sep;6(5):569-76. doi: 10.1007/BF01971571.


The effects of L-histidine, and of the specific histamine receptor agonists 2-methylhistamine and 4-methylhistamine, on the expression of morphine tolerance and physical dependence have been studied in mice. These agents were administered during the "withdrawal" phase of development. All of them significantly increased tolerance but reduced the degree of physical dependence. The effects of 2-methylhistamine, which has predominantly H1-receptor activity, were completely abolished by the prior administration of the H1-antagonist mepyramine. The H2-antagonist metiamide, on the other hand, did not alter the action of 2-methylhistamine on physical dependence, though tolerance was restored to its original level. The effects of 4-methylhistamine, which is a specific H2-receptor agonist, were inhibited by metiamide, but mepyramine was unable to reverse the actions of this agonist. The effects of L-histidine, the major precursor of brain histamine, were unaltered by mepyramine, but partially inhibited by metiamide. These experimental findings are discussed in detail, and are considered to give further support to the view that histamine is implicated in some way in the mechanisms of the "withdrawal" phase of morphine tolerance and physical dependence in mice, with H2-receptors probably playing the more important role.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Drug Interactions
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Female
  • Histidine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metiamide / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Morphine / pharmacology*
  • Morphine Dependence / physiopathology*
  • Pyrilamine / pharmacology
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology


  • Metiamide
  • Histidine
  • Morphine
  • Pyrilamine