The tuberomamillary nucleus in neuropsychiatric disorders

Ling Shan, Rolf Fronczek, Gert Jan Lammers, Dick F Swaab

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


The tuberomamillary nucleus (TMN) is located within the posterior part of the hypothalamus. The histamine neurons in it synthesize histamine by means of the key enzyme histidine decarboxylase (HDC) and from the TMN, innervate a large number of brain areas, such as the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, amygdala as well as the thalamus, hypothalamus, and basal ganglia. Brain histamine is reduced to an inactivated form, tele-methylhistamine (t-MeHA), by histamine N-methyltransferase (HMT). In total, there are four types of histamine receptors (H1-4Rs) in the brain, all of which are G-protein coupled. The histaminergic system controls several basal physiological functions, including the sleep-wake cycle, energy and endocrine homeostasis, sensory and motor functions, and cognitive functions such as attention, learning, and memory. Histaminergic dysfunction may contribute to clinical disorders such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, narcolepsy type 1, schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, and autism spectrum disorder. In the current chapter, we focus on the role of the histaminergic system in these neurological/neuropsychiatric disorders. For each disorder, we first discuss human data, including genetic, postmortem brain, and cerebrospinal fluid studies. Then, we try to interpret the human changes by reviewing related animal studies and end by discussing, if present, recent progress in clinical studies on novel histamine-related therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-400
Number of pages12
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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