• caudate-putamen;
  • hippocampus;
  • in situ hybridization;
  • kainic acid;
  • mast cells;
  • tuberomammillary nucleus


Histamine is implicated in the regulation of brain functions through three distinct receptors. Endogenous histamine in the brain is derived from mast cells and neurons, but the importance of these two pools during early postnatal development is still unknown. The expression of histamine H1-receptor in the rat brain was examined using in situ hybridization during postnatal development and in adults. For comparison, the expression of l-histidine decarboxylase (HDC) in the two pools was revealed. H1-receptor was evenly expressed throughout the brain on the first postnatal days, but resembled the adult, uneven pattern already on postnatal day 5 (P5). HDC was expressed in both mast cells and tuberomammillary neurons from birth until P5, after which the mast cell expression was no more detectable. In adult rat brain, high or moderate levels of H1-receptor expression were found in the hippocampus, zona incerta, medial amygdaloid nucleus and reticular thalamic nucleus. In most areas of the adult brain the expression of H1-receptor mRNA correlates well with binding data and histaminergic innervation. A notable exception is the hypothalamus, with high fibre density but moderate or low H1-receptor expression. Systemic kainic acid administration induced increased expression of H1-receptor mRNA in the caudate-putamen and dentate gyrus, whereas no change was seen in the hippocampal subfields CA1–CA3 or in the entorhinal cortex 6 h after kainic acid injections. This significant increase supports the concept that histaminergic transmission, through H1-receptor, is involved in the regulation of seizure activity in the brain.