Histamine elevates free intracellular calcium in mouse retinal dopaminergic cells via H1-receptors

Renata Frazão, Douglas G. McMahon, Walter Schunack, Proleta Datta, Ruth Heidelberger, David W. Marshak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Previously, retinopetal axons containing histamine and dopaminergic neurons expressing histamine H1-receptor had been localized in mouse retinas using anatomic techniques. The goal of these experiments was to demonstrate that these receptors are functional. METHODS. Dopaminergic cells were acutely isolated from retinas of transgenic mice expressing red fluorescent protein under control of the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter and loaded with the calcium indicator Fura-2. RESULTS. Under control conditions, there were spontaneous oscillations in the levels of free intracellular calcium in dopaminergic cells. These oscillations were abolished in nominally calcium-free extracellular medium and in 1 μM tetrodotoxin, findings suggesting that the oscillations were mediated by calcium entry across the plasma membrane in response to sodium-dependent action potentials. Histamine increased the mean free intracellular calcium in the dopaminergic cells by increasing the frequency and/or amplitude of the calcium oscillations. The effects of histamine were dose-dependent and reached maximum at 5 μM. With this dose, there was a 65% increase in the mean free intracellular calcium concentration. The histamine H1-receptor antagonist, pyrilamine, blocked the effects of 5 μM histamine when applied at 50 μM. The selective histamine H1-receptor agonists, 2-(3-trifluoromethylphenyl) histamine and methylhistaprodifen significantly increased mean free intracellular calcium when applied at 5 μM. CONCLUSIONS. Histamine released from retinopetal axons in the mouse retina can elevate intracellular calcium levels in the perikarya of dopaminergic cells via the activation of histamine H1-receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3083-3088
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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