IntroductionAlzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorderfeaturing a brain accumulation of extracellular β-amyloidplaques (Aβ) and intracellular neurofibrillary tautangles (NFTs). Although cognitive decline is a disease-defining symptom of AD, sleep dysfunction, a common symptom often preceding cognitive decline, hasrecently gained more attention as a core AD symptom. Polysomnography and othersleep measures show sleep fragmentation with shortening of N3 sleep togetherwith excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and sundowning as the main findings in AD patients. The latter reflects dysfunction of the wake-promoting neurons (WPNs), including histaminergic neurons (HAN) located in thetuberomammillary nucleus (TMN) of the posterior hypothalamus, which projectunmyelinated axons to various parts of the brain. Histamine's role in cognitionand arousal is broadly recognized. Selective targeting of histaminergic subtype-3 and 4 receptors show therapeutic potential in rodent models of AD andaging.
MethodBased on PubMed, Scopus, and google scholar databases search, this review summarizes the current knowledge on the histaminergic system in AD and aging, its therapeutic potential in AD, and highlight areas where moreresearch is needed.
ResultsAnimal studies have demonstrated that pharmacological manipulation of histaminergic receptors or histamine supplementation improves cognition in AD models. However, measurements of HA or HA metabolite levels in the human brainand CSF present contradictory reports due to either lack of power or controls for known confounders.
DiscussionSystemic studies including broad age, sex, neuropathological diagnosis, and disease stage are warranted to fill the gap in our current understanding of the histaminergic neurotransmitter/neuromodulator system in humans, especially age-related changes, and therapeuticpotential of histamine in AD-related dysfunction.