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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Histamine: a putative afferent neurotransmitter in Limulus eyes.

Histamine has been proposed as a photoreceptor neurotransmitter in two major groups of arthropods, the insects and the crustacea. In this study biochemical and immunocytochemical approaches were used to examine the synthesis, endogenous content, and cellular distribution of histamine in the visual system of the horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus, an ancient chelicerate arthropod. Studies with this animal have been critical to our understanding of the basic processes of vision. High-voltage paper electrophoresis was used to assay for histamine synthesis in Limulus tissues incubated with radiolabeled histidine; histamine synthesis was detected in the lateral, median, and ventral eyes and optic nerves and in the visual centers in the brain. Endogenous histamine, assayed as its orthophthalaldehyde derivative by high-performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection, was also detected in these tissues. Immunocytochemical analyses, with an antiserum directed against a protein conjugate of histamine, revealed histamine-like immunoreactivity in the somata of photoreceptors in each of the eyes and in the regions of the brain where the photoreceptors terminate. Histamine-like immunoreactivity was also intense in the cell bodies and axon collaterals of eccentric cells in the lateral eye and in eccentric cell projections in the brain. These results show that histamine is a major biogenic amine in the Limulus visual system, and they suggest that this amine is involved in transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain and in lateral inhibition, a fundamental mechanism for processing visual information in the lateral eye.[1]


  1. Histamine: a putative afferent neurotransmitter in Limulus eyes. Battelle, B.A., Calman, B.G., Andrews, A.W., Grieco, F.D., Mleziva, M.B., Callaway, J.C., Stuart, A.E. J. Comp. Neurol. (1991) [Pubmed]
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