Dose-response curves of histamine were studied on the mesenteric circulation of the anaesthetized rat. The vasodilation produced by small doses of histamine was prevailingly H2-receptor-dependent, as shown by its inhibition by cimetidine but not by mepyramine, and by its reproducibility by some H2-receptor agonists, but not by specific H1-receptor agonists. The vasodilation produced by high doses of histamine was mainly due to stimulation of H1-receptors, as shown by its 70% inhibition by mepyramine. Mepyramine and cimetidine given simultaneously nearly completely inhibited the vasodilating action of high doses of histamine. Certain H2-receptor agonists, administered at high doses, induced a paradoxical vasoconstriction. It is suggested that a small number of H2-receptors is present in rat mesenteric arterioles, and that these receptors may play a physiological role in the control of mesenteric circulation.
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