The aim of this study was to examine the effects of histaminergic antagonists on memory upon injection into the region of the nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM). In experiment 1, rats with chronically implanted cannulae were trained on the uphill avoidance task, which involves a punishment of a high-probability turning response on a tilted platform (negative geotaxis). Immediately after the training trial, that is, after a tail shock was administered upon performing the response, rats received one microinjection (0.5 microliter) of H1-receptor blocker chlorpheniramine (dose range 0.1 to 20 microgram) or the H2-receptor blocker ranitidine (same dose range) or saline into the NBM region. When tested 24 h later, rats treated with chlorpheniramine (20 micrograms) had significantly longer uphill latencies than vehicle controls and ranitidine-treated animals, indicative of superior learning of the avoidance response. In experiment 2, a test for possible proactive effects of posttrial chlorpheniramine on performance during the retention trial was performed. Animals were injected with either 20 micrograms chlorpheniramine or saline immediately after the training trial of the uphill task. One chlorpheniramine control group was treated with a delay of 5 h. Additional groups which received chlorpheniramine or vehicle after the training trial but no trail shock were included. When tested 24 h later, rats injected with 20 micrograms chlorpheniramine again exhibited significantly longer uphill latencies than did vehicle-injected rats. Retention latencies for the rats of the chlorpheniramine 5-h delayed group did not differ from those of the vehicle-injected rats, ruling out proactive effects of chlorpheniramine on performance. In summary, the histaminergic H1-blocker chlorpheniramine can enhance mnemonic functioning in addition to its reinforcing effects upon NBM injection as reported previously.