This is an historical archive of the activities of the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit (MRC ANU) that operated at the University of Oxford from 1985 until March 2015. The MRC ANU established a reputation for world-leading research on the brain, for training new generations of scientists, and for engaging the general public in neuroscience. The successes of the MRC ANU are now built upon at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford.

News- Histamine's modulatory effects in the striatum

'Differential modulation of excitatory and inhibitory striatal synaptic transmission by histamine', an article published today in the Journal of Neuroscience, and highlighted in 'This Week in the Journal'.

Authors: Tommas J. Ellender, Icnelia Huerta-Ocampo, Karl Deisseroth, Marco Capogna & J. Paul Bolam.

Abstract:Information processing in the striatum is critical for basal ganglia function and strongly influenced by neuromodulators (e.g., dopamine). The striatum also receives modulatory afferents from the histaminergic neurons in the hypothalamus which exhibit a distinct diurnal rhythm with high activity during wakefulness, and little or no activity during sleep. In view of the fact that the striatum also expresses a high density of histamine receptors, we hypothesized that released histamine will affect striatal function. We studied the role of histamine on striatal microcircuit function by performing whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of neurochemically identified striatal neurons combined with electrical and optogenetic stimulation of striatal afferents in mouse brain slices. Bath applied histamine had many effects on striatal microcircuits. Histamine, acting at H2 receptors, depolarized both the direct and indirect pathway medium spiny projection neurons (MSNs). Excitatory, glutamatergic input to both classes of MSNs from both the cortex and thalamus was negatively modulated by histamine acting at presynaptic H3 receptors. The dynamics of thalamostriatal, but not corticostriatal, synapses were modulated by histamine leading to a facilitation of thalamic input. Furthermore, local inhibitory input to both classes of MSNs was negatively modulated by histamine. Subsequent dual whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of connected pairs of striatal neurons revealed that only lateral inhibition between MSNs is negatively modulated, whereas feedforward inhibition from fast-spiking GABAergic interneurons onto MSNs is unaffected by histamine. These findings suggest that the diurnal rhythm of histamine release entrains striatal function which, during wakefulness, is dominated by feedforward inhibition and a suppression of excitatory drive.