The brain H3-receptor as a novel therapeutic target for vigilance and sleep-wake disorders

R Parmentier, C Anaclet, C Guhennec, E Brousseau, D Bricout, T Giboulot, D Bozyczko-Coyne, K Spiegel, H Ohtsu, M Williams, J S Lin
Biochemical Pharmacology 2007 April 15, 73 (8): 1157-71
Brain histaminergic neurons play a prominent role in arousal and maintenance of wakefulness (W). H(3)-receptors control the activity of histaminergic neurons through presynaptic autoinhibition. The role of H(3)-receptor antagonists/inverse agonists (H(3)R-antagonists) in the potential therapy of vigilance deficiency and sleep-wake disorders were studied by assessing their effects on the mouse cortical EEG and sleep-wake cycle in comparison to modafinil and classical psychostimulants. The H(3)R-antagonists, thioperamide and ciproxifan increased W and cortical EEG fast rhythms and, like modafinil, but unlike amphetamine and caffeine, their waking effects were not accompanied by sleep rebound. Conversely, imetit (H(3)R-agonist) enhanced slow wave sleep and dose-dependently attenuated ciproxifan-induced W, indicating that the effects of both ligands involve H(3)-receptor mechanisms. Additional studies using knockout (KO) mice confirmed the essential role of H(3)-receptors and histamine-mediated transmission in the wake properties of H(3)R-antagonists. Thus ciproxifan produced no increase in W in either histidine-decarboxylase (HDC, histamine-synthesizing enzyme) or H(1)- or H(3)-receptor KO-mice whereas its waking effects persisted in H(2)-receptor KO-mice. These data validate the hypothesis that H(3)R-antagonists, through disinhibition of H(3)-autoreceptors, enhancing synaptic histamine that in turn activates postsynaptic H(1)-receptors promoting W. Interestingly amphetamine and modafinil, despite their potent arousal effects, appear unlikely to depend on histaminergic mechanism as their effects still occurred in HDC KO-mice. The present study thus distinguishes two classes of wake-improving agents: the first acting through non-histaminergic mechanisms and the second acting via histamine and supports brain H(3)-receptors as potentially novel therapeutic targets for vigilance and sleep-wake disorders.

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