Striatal histamine mechanism in the pathogenesis of restless legs syndrome.

TitleStriatal histamine mechanism in the pathogenesis of restless legs syndrome.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsLai Y-Y, Hsieh K-C, Cheng Y-H, Chew K-T, Nguyen D, Ramanathan L, Siegel JM
Date Published2020 Feb 13

STUDY OBJECTIVES: Restless legs syndrome (RLS) has been hypothesized to be generated by abnormal striatal dopamine transmission. Dopaminergic drugs are effective for the treatment of RLS. However, long-term use of dopaminergic drugs causes adverse effects. We used iron-deficient (ID) and iron-replacement (IR) rats to address the neuropathology of RLS and to determine if a histamine H3 receptor (H3R) antagonist might be a useful treatment. Histamine H3R antagonists have been shown to decrease motor activity.

METHODS: Control and ID rats were surgically implanted with electrodes for polysomnographic recording. After 3 days of baseline polysomnographic recordings, rats were systemically injected with the H3R agonist, α-methylhistamine, and antagonist, thioperamide. Recordings were continued after drug injection. Striatal H3R levels from control, ID, and IR rats were determined by western blots. Blood from control, ID, and IR rats was collected for the measurement of hematocrit levels.

RESULTS: α-Methylhistamine and thioperamide increased and decreased motor activity, respectively, in control rats. In ID rats, α-methylhistamine had no effect on motor activity, whereas thioperamide decreased periodic leg movement (PLM) in sleep. Sleep-wake states were not significantly altered under any conditions. Striatal H3R levels were highest in ID rats, moderate to low in IR rats, and lowest in control rats. Striatal H3R levels were also found to positively and negatively correlate with PLM in sleep and hematocrit levels, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: A striatal histamine mechanism may be involved in ID anemia-induced RLS. Histamine H3R antagonists may be useful for the treatment of RLS.

Alternate JournalSleep
PubMed ID31671173