Biochemical and biophysical research communications

JNJ10181457, a histamine H3 receptor inverse agonist, regulates in vivo microglial functions and improves depression-like behaviours in mice.

PMID 28526411


Brain histamine acts as a neurotransmitter and regulates various physiological functions, such as learning and memory, sleep-wake cycles, and appetite regulation. We have recently shown that histamine H3 receptor (H3R) is expressed in primary mouse microglia and has a strong influence on critical functions in microglia, including chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and cytokine secretion in vitro. However, the importance of H3R in microglial activity in vivo remains unknown. Here, we examined the effects of JNJ10181457 (JNJ), a selective and potent H3R inverse agonist, on microglial functions ex vivo and in vivo. First, we injected ATP, which is a typical chemoattractant, into hippocampal slices to investigate the effect of JNJ on chemotaxis. ATP-induced microglial migration toward the injected site was significantly suppressed by JNJ treatment. Next, we examined whether JNJ affected microglial phagocytosis in hippocampal slices and in the prefrontal cortex. Microglial engulfment of dead neurons induced by N-methyl-d-aspartate was inhibited in the presence of JNJ. The increase in zymosan particle uptake by activated microglia in the prefrontal cortex was prevented by JNJ administration. Finally, we determined the importance of JNJ in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced depression model. JNJ reduced the LPS-induced upregulation of microglial pro-inflammatory cytokines and improved depression-like behaviour in the tail-suspension test. These results demonstrate the inhibitory effects of JNJ on chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and cytokine production in microglia inside the brain, and highlight the importance of microglial H3R for brain homeostasis.