Diurnal fluctuation in histidine decarboxylase expression, the rate limiting enzyme for histamine production, and its disorder in neurodegenerative diseases

L. Shan, M.A. Hofman, D.J. van Wamelen, E.J.W. van Someren, A.M. Bao, D.F. Swaab

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Study Objectives: Neuronal histamine shows diurnal rhythms in rodents and plays a major role in the maintenance of vigilance. No data are available on its diurnal fluctuation in humans, either in health or in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson disease (PD), Alzheimer disease (AD), or Huntington disease (HD), all of which are characterized by sleep-wake disturbances. Design: Quantitative in situ hybridization was used to study the mRNA expression of histidine decarboxylase (HDC), the key enzyme of histamine production in the tuberomammillary nucleus (TMN) in postmortem human hypothalamic tissue, obtained from 33 controls and 31 patients with a neurodegenerative disease-PD (n = 15), AD (n = 9), and HD (n = 8)-and covering the full 24-h cycle with respect to clock time of death. Results: HDC-mRNA levels in controls were found to be significantly higher during the daytime than at night (e.g., 08:01-20:00 versus 20:01-08:00, P = 0.004). This day-night fluctuation was markedly different in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Conclusion: The diurnal fluctuation of HDC-mRNA expression in human TMN supports a role for neuronal histamine in regulating day-night rhythms. Future studies should investigate histamine rhythm abnormalities in neurodegenerative disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-715
Number of pages2
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


  • Diurnal fluctuations
  • Histamine
  • Histidine decarboxylase
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Tuberomammillary nucleus

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