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Extracellular and intracellular recording techniques were used to study the effects of histamine and the histamine agonists [impromidine (IMP) and 2-thiazolylethylamine (2-TH)] on synaptic transmission in the superior cervical ganglion of the rat in vitro. At the concentrations employed (up to 10(-5) M) these compounds did not produce detectable effects on the electrical properties of the postsynaptic neurons. Histamine produced a dose-dependent reduction in the amplitude of the extracellularly-recorded presynaptic and postsynaptic compound action potential. The H2 receptor agonist impromidine reduced only the postganglionic compound action potential. Cimetidine, a specific H2 receptor antagonist, produced parallel shifts in the log dose-response curves for impromidine. Impromidine also reduced the average size of the evoked excitatory postsynaptic potential. The reduction of the mean amplitude of the excitatory postsynaptic potential was due to a decrease in the amount of acetylcholine (ACh) liberated by each preganglionic volley (mean quantal content, m) and a diminution in quantal size. The H1 receptor agonist, 2-TH produced a dose-dependent increase in the presynaptic and postsynaptic compound action potential and in m. The increase in m was not associated with changes in quantal size. The H1 antagonists, pyrilamine and promethazine, did not prevent facilitation of ganglionic transmission induced by 2-TH. It is concluded that histamine H1 and H2 receptors exist on preganglionic axons, or terminals in sympathetic ganglia of the rat. Activation of H1 receptors facilitates release of ACh whereas H2 receptor activation results in depressed release.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





743 - 752


Ganglia, Sympathetic, Synapses, Animals, Rats, Inbred Strains, Rats, Carbachol, Histamine, Receptors, Histamine H1, Receptors, Histamine H2, Histamine H1 Antagonists, Histamine H2 Antagonists, Action Potentials, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Male