- Plasticity of histamine H3 receptor expression and binding in the vestibular nuclei after labyrinthectomy in rat (2004)
- Background: In rat, deafferentation of one labyrinth (unilateral labyrinthectomy) results in a characteristic syndrome of ocular and motor postural disorders (e.g., barrel rotation, circling behavior, and spontaneous nystagmus). Behavioral recovery (e.g., diminished symptoms), encompassing 1 week after unilateral labyrinthectomy, has been termed vestibular compensation. Evidence suggesting that the histamine H3 receptor plays a key role in vestibular compensation comes from studies indicating that betahistine, a histamine-like drug that acts as both a partial histamine H1 receptor agonist and an H3 receptor antagonist, can accelerate the process of vestibular compensation. Results: Expression levels for histamine H3 receptor (total) as well as three isoforms which display variable lengths of the third intracellular loop of the receptor were analyzed using in situ hybridization on brain sections containing the rat medial vestibular nucleus after unilateral labyrinthectomy. We compared these expression levels to H3 receptor binding densities. Total H3 receptor mRNA levels (detected by oligo probe H3X) as well as mRNA levels of the three receptor isoforms studied (detected by oligo probes H3A, H3B, and H3C) showed a pattern of increase, which was bilaterally significant at 24 h post-lesion for both H3X and H3C, followed by significant bilateral decreases in medial vestibular nuclei occurring 48 h (H3X and H3B) and 1 week post-lesion (H3A, H3B, and H3C). Expression levels of H3B was an exception to the forementioned pattern with significant decreases already detected at 24 h post-lesion. Coinciding with the decreasing trends in H3 receptor mRNA levels was an observed increase in H3 receptor binding densities occurring in the ipsilateral medial vestibular nuclei 48 h post-lesion. Conclusion: Progressive recovery of the resting discharge of the deafferentated medial vestibular nuclei neurons results in functional restoration of the static postural and occulomotor deficits, usually occurring within a time frame of 48 hours in rats. Our data suggests that the H3 receptor may be an essential part of pre-synaptic mechanisms required for reestablishing resting activities 48 h after unilateral labyrinthectomy.