CNS neuroscience & therapeutics

Histamine modulation of acute nociception involves regulation of Nav 1.8 in primary afferent neurons in mice.

PMID 23773488


To explore the role of histamine in acute pain perception and its possible mechanisms. Pain-like behaviors induced by four types of noxious stimuli (hot-plate, tail-pressure, acetic acid, and formalin) were accessed in mice. Nav 1.8 expression and functions in primary afferent neurons were compared between histidine decarboxylase knockout (HDC(-/-) ) mice and their wild-types. HDC(-/-) mice, lacking in endogenous histamine, showed elevated sensitivity to all these noxious stimuli, as compared with the wild-types. In addition, a depletion of endogenous histamine with α-fluoromethylhistidine (α-FMH), a specific HDC inhibitor, or feeding mice a low-histamine diet also enhanced nociception in the wild-types. Nav 1.8 expression in primary afferent neurons was increased both in HDC(-/-) and in α-FMH-treated wild-type mice. A higher Nav 1.8 current density, a lower action potential (AP) threshold, and a higher firing rate in response to suprathreshold stimulation were observed in nociception-related small DRG neurons of HDC(-/-) mice. Nav 1.8 inhibitor A-803467, but not TTX, diminished the hyperexcitability and blocked repetitive AP firing of these neurons. Our results indicate that histamine participates in acute pain modulation in a dose-related manner. The regulation of Nav 1.8 expression and the excitability of nociceptive primary afferent neurons may be involved in the underlying mechanisms.