Short photoperiod-induced decrease of histamine H3 receptors facilitates activation of hypothalamic neurons in the Siberian hamster

P Barrett, M Van Den Top, D Wilson, J G Mercer, C K Song, Timothy J Bartness, P J Morgan, David C Spanswick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Nonhibernating seasonal mammals have adapted to temporal changes in food availability through behavioral and physiological mechanisms to store food and energy during times of predictable plenty and conserve energy during predicted shortage. Little is known, however, of the hypothalamic neuronal events that lead to a change in behavior or physiology. Here we show for the first time that a shift from long summer-like to short winter-like photoperiod, which induces physiological adaptation to winter in the Siberian hamster, including a body weight decrease of up to 30 , increases neuronal activity in the dorsomedial region of the arcuate nucleus (dmpARC) assessed by electrophysiological patch-clamping recording. Increased neuronal activity in short days is dependent on a photoperiod-driven down-regulation of H3 receptor expression and can be mimicked in long-day dmpARC neurons by the application of the H3 receptor antagonist, clobenproprit. Short-day activation of dmpARC neurons results in increased c-Fos expression. Tract tracing with the trans-synaptic retrograde tracer, pseudorabies virus, delivered into adipose tissue reveals a multisynaptic neuronal sympathetic outflow from dmpARC to white adipose tissue. These data strongly suggest that increased activity of dmpARC neurons, as a consequence of down-regulation of the histamine H3 receptor, contributes to the physiological adaptation of body weight regulation in seasonal photoperiod.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3655 - 3663
Number of pages9
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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