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Histaminergic responses by hypothalamic neurons that regulate lordosis and their modulation by estradiol.

Authors
  • Dupré, Christophe
  • Lovett-Barron, Matthew
  • Pfaff, Donald W
  • Kow, Lee-Ming
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publisher
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Jul 06, 2010
Volume
107
Issue
27
Pages
12311–12316
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1006049107
PMID: 20562342
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

How do fluctuations in the level of generalized arousal of the brain affect the performance of specific motivated behaviors, such as sexual behaviors that depend on sexual arousal? A great deal of previous work has provided us with two important starting points in answering this question: (i) that histamine (HA) serves generalized CNS arousal and (ii) that heightened electrical activity of neurons in the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMN) is necessary and sufficient for facilitating the primary female sex behavior in laboratory animals, lordosis behavior. Here we used patch clamp recording technology to analyze HA effects on VMN neuronal activity. The results show that HA acting through H1 receptors (H1R) depolarizes these neurons. Further, acute administration of estradiol, an estrogen necessary for lordosis behavior to occur, heightens this effect. Hyperpolarization, which tends to decrease excitability and enhance inhibition, was not affected by acute estradiol or mediated by H1R but was mediated by other HA receptor subtypes, H2 and H3. Sampling of mRNA from individual VMN neurons showed colocalization of expression of H1 receptor mRNA with estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha mRNA but also revealed ER colocalization with the other HA receptor subtypes and colocalization of different subtypes with each other. The latter finding provides the molecular basis for complex "push-pull" regulation of VMN neuronal excitability by HA. Thus, in the simplest causal route, HA, acting on VMN neurons through H1R provides a mechanism by which elevated states of generalized CNS arousal can foster a specific estrogen-dependent, aroused behavior, sexual behavior.

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