Author(s): P PANULA, HY T YANG, E COSTA
A specific antiserum against histamine was produced in rabbits, and an immunohistochemical study of histamine-containing cells was carried out in rat brain. The antiserum bound histamine in a standard radioimmunoassay and stained mast cells located in various rat and guinea pig tissues. Enterochromaffin-like cells in the stomach and neurons in the posterior hypothalamic area could be detected with this antiserum. The staining was highly specific and was not abolished by preabsorption with histidine, histidine-containing peptides, serotonin, or catecholamines, whereas preabsorption with histamine completely abolished the staining. Immunoglobulins of this antiserum purified by affinity chromatography stained the same cells as did the crude antiserum, whereas the serum fraction, which was not absorbed by histamine-affinity ligand, failed to stain any neuron. Histamine-immunoreactive neuronal cell bodies were found only in the hypothalamic and premammillary areas of colchicine-treated rats. The largest group of cells was seen in the caudal magnocellular nucleus and medially on the dorsal and ventral aspects of the ventral premammillary nucleus. Immunoreactive nerve fibers, but no cell bodies, were detected in other parts of the brain. Histamine-immunoreactive mast cells were found in the median eminence and pituitary gland. The results suggest that histamine-containing neurons are located only in a small area of the posterior hypothalamus, and these cells are probably the source of ascending and descending fibers detected in other brain areas.