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A reduction in the synthesis of the neuromodulator histamine has been associated with Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Symptoms of these disorders are thought to arise from a dysfunction or aberrant development ofcorticostriatal circuits. Here, we investigated how histamine affects developing corticostriatal circuits, both acutely and longer-term, during the first postnatal weeks, using patch-clamp and field recordings in mouse brain slices (C57Bl/6, male and female). Immunohistochemistry for histamine-containing axons reveals striatal histaminergic innervation by the second postnatal week, and qRT-PCR shows transcripts for H1, H2, and H3 histamine receptors in striatum from the first postnatal week onwards, with pronounced developmental increases in H3 receptor expression. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings of striatal spiny projection neurons and histamine superfusion demonstrates expression of functional histamine receptors from the first postnatal week onwards, with histamine having diverse effects on their electrical properties, including depolarization of the membrane potential while simultaneously decreasing action potential output. Striatal field recordings and electrical stimulation of corticostriatal afferents revealed that histamine, acting at H3 receptors, negatively modulates corticostriatal synaptic transmission from the first postnatal week onwards. Last, we investigated effects of histamine on longer-term changes at developing corticostriatal synapses and show that histamine facilitates NMDA receptor-dependent LTP via H3 receptors during the second postnatal week, but inhibits synaptic plasticity at later developmental stages. Together, these results show that histamine acutely modulates developing striatal neurons and synapses and controls longer-term changes in developing corticostriatal circuits, thus providing insight into the possible etiology underlying neurodevelopmental disorders resulting from histamine dysregulation.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Monogenic causes of neurologic disorders, although rare, can provide opportunities to both study and understand the brain. For example, a nonsense mutation in the coding gene for the histamine-synthesizing enzyme has been associated with Tourette's syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dysfunction of corticostriatal circuits. Nevertheless, the etiology of these neurodevelopmental disorders and histamine's role in the development of corticostriatal circuits have remained understudied. Here we show that histamine is an active neuromodulator during the earliest periods of postnatal life and acts at developing striatal neurons and synapses. Crucially, we show that histamine permits NMDA receptor-dependent corticostriatal synaptic plasticity during an early critical period of postnatal development, which suggests that genetic or environmental perturbations of histamine levels can impact striatal development.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





6557 - 6571


basal ganglia, cortex, development, histamine, striatum, synaptic plasticity, Animals, Cerebral Cortex, Corpus Striatum, Female, Histamine, Male, Membrane Potentials, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Neural Pathways, Neuronal Plasticity, Receptors, Histamine, Receptors, Histamine H1, Receptors, Histamine H2, Receptors, Histamine H3, Synaptic Transmission