The H1 histamine receptor blocker, chlorpheniramine, completely prevents the increase in REM sleep induced by immobilization stress in rats.Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2009 Jan; 91(3):291-4.PB
Chlorpheniramine is a selective antagonist of the H1 histaminergic receptor subtype and its effects in humans include somnolence. Chlorpheniramine affects sleep in rats, mainly by decreasing REM sleep. On the other hand, stress by immobilization induces an important increase in the percentage of REM sleep. In this study we analyzed the effects of blocking histaminergic receptors on REM sleep induced by immobilization stress. Adult male Wistar rats were chronically implanted for sleep recording. Immobilization stress was induced by placing the rat in a small cylinder for 2 h. Experimental conditions were: A. Control; B. Stress; C. Stress plus vehicle and D. Stress plus chlorpheniramine. Independent experiments were done both in the dark, as well as the light period. Results showed that the increase in REM sleep observed after immobilization stress was completely abolished by chlorpheniramine, both in the dark and in the light phase. Furthermore, the decrease in REM sleep was significant even when compared to the non-stressed control rats. REM sleep latency was also significantly longer during both light phases. The present results suggest that REM sleep is quite sensitive to histaminergic blockage. It is possible that chlorpheniramine is also blocking the cholinergic mechanisms generating REM sleep.