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[Molecular imaging of histamine receptors in the human brain]

Manabu Tashiro, Kazuhiko Yanai
Brain and Nerve, Shinkei Kenkyƫ No Shinpo 2007, 59 (3): 221-31
17370648
Brain histamine is involved in a wide range of physiological functions such as regulation of sleep-wake cycle, arousal, appetite control, cognition, learning and memory mainly through the 4 receptor subtypes: H1, H2, H3 and H4. Neurons producing histamine, histaminergic neurons, are exclusively located in the tuberomammillary nucleus of the posterior hypothalamus and are transmitting histamine to almost all regions of the brain. Roles of brain histamine have been studied using animals including knock-out mice and human subjects. For clinical studies, molecular imaging technique such as positron emission tomography (PET), with ligands such as [11C]doxepin and [11C]pyrilamine, has been a useful tool. A series of clinical studies on histamine H1 antagonists, or antihistamines, have demonstrated that antihistamines can be classified into sedative, mildly-sedative and non-sedative drugs according to their blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability, showing apparent clinical usefulness regarding QOL, work efficiency and traffic safety of allergic patients. PET has also been used for elucidation of aging effects and pathophysiological roles of histaminergic nervous system in various neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and depression, where H1 receptor binding potentials were lower than age-matched healthy controls. It has been also demonstrated that brain histamine functions as an endogenous anti-epileptic. In addition, H3 receptors are located in the presynaptic sites of not only histaminergic nerves but also in other nervous systems such as serotonergic, cholinergic and dopaminergic systems, and to be regulating secretion of various neurotransmitters. Nowadays, H3 receptors have been thought to be a new target of drug treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders. There are still many research topics to be investigated regarding molecular imaging of histamine and histamine receptors. The authors hope that this line of research contributes more for the promotion of QOL in patients and people in daily lives.

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