Effects of histamine H3 receptor ligands in
experimental models of anxiety and depression

Perez-Garcia C, Morales L, Cano MV, Sancho I, Alguacil LF
Laboratory of Pharmacology,
University of San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1999 Feb; 142(2): 215-20


Histamine H3 receptor ligands have been proposed to be of potential therapeutic interest for the treatment of different central nervous system disorders; however, the psychopharmacological properties of these drugs have not been studied extensively. In this work, we investigated the possible involvement of histamine H3 receptor function in experimental models of anxiety (elevated plus-maze) and depression (forced swimming test). Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated i.p. with the histamine H3 receptor agonist R-alpha-methylhistamine (10 mg/kg) or the histamine H3 receptor antagonist thioperamide (0.2, 2 and 10 mg/kg) and 30 min afterwards the time spent in the open arms of an elevated plus-maze was registered for 5 min. The immobility time of male OF1 mice in the forced swimming test was recorded for 6 min, 1 h after the i.p. administration of R-alpha-methylhistamine (10 and 20 mg/kg), thioperamide (0.2, 2, 10 and 20 mg/kg) or another histamine H3 receptor antagonist, clobenpropit (5 mg/kg). The locomotor activity of mice was checked in parallel by means of an activity meter. Both saline controls and active drug controls were used in all the paradigms. Neither thioperamide nor R-alpha-methylhistamine significantly changed animal behaviour in the elevated plus-maze. R-alpha-methylhistamine and the higher dose of thioperamide assayed (20 mg/kg) were also inactive in the forced swimming test. By contrast, thioperamide (0.2-10 mg/kg) dose-dependently decreased immobility, the effect being significant at 10 mg/kg (33% reduction of immobility); clobenpropit produced an effect qualitatively similar (24% reduction of immobility). None of these histamine H3 receptor antagonists affected locomotor activity. These preliminary results suggest that the histamine H3 receptor blockade could be devoid of anxiolytic potential but have antidepressant effects. Besides, the stimulation of these receptors does not seem to be followed by changes in the behavioural parameters studied.
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