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Distribution of histamine H-3-receptor binding in the normal human basal ganglia: comparison with Huntington's and Parkinson's disease cases

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jennifer Court, Dr Margaret Piggott, Dr Evelyn Jaros, Emeritus Professor Elaine Perry


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It is now widely recognized that histamine acts as a neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. Three selective histamine receptors have been described, all of which are present in the basal ganglia. This study is a detailed, quantitative, autoradiographical examination of the densities of histamine H-3-receptors in coronal sections of human basal ganglia, using the selective ligand [H-3]-(R)-alpha-methylhistamine. [H-3]-(R)-alpha-methylhistamine binding was highest within the external and internal segments of the globus pallidus together with the substantia nigra. High levels were also found in the striatum, where density was significantly higher (P < 0.05) at a pre-, as opposed to post-, anterior commissure coronal level. Within the striatum, binding was noticeably higher in both the nucleus accumbens and acetylcholinesterase-deficient striosomes, while being undetectable in the subthalamic nucleus and very low in both the ventroanterior and ventrolateral thalamic nuclei, An intermediate level of binding, often with a laminar distribution, was seen in the insular cortex. [H-3]-(R)-alpha-methylhistamine binding was also examined in both Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. No difference from control receptor density was found in any area examined in Parkinson's disease, while values were significantly lower in caudate (P < 0.001), putamen (P < 0.001), external (P < 0.001) and internal (P < 0.05) globus pallidus, although not the insular cortex, in Huntington's disease cases. These data suggest that H-3- receptors are present upon striatonigral projection neurons of the direct and indirect movement pathways thus providing histaminergic control over the activity of both these circuits.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Piggott MA; Perry EK; Court JA; Jaros E; Goodchild RE; Hobson I; Perry RH; Ince P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 1999

Volume: 11

Issue: 2

Pages: 449-456

Print publication date: 01/02/1999

ISSN (print): 0953-816X

ISSN (electronic): 1460-9568

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00453.x


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