1. Intracellular recordings were obtained from neurones in the guinea‐pig superior cervical ganglion (SCG) in vitro to study the electrophysiological effects of endogenously released histamine. 2. Guinea‐pigs were actively sensitized to the specific antigen, ovalbumin. SCG removed from these animals rapidly released a significant proportion of their endogenous histamine stores into the extracellular space upon exposure to the sensitizing antigen. Several observations indicated that the released histamine was derived from ganglionic mast cells. 3. The electrophysiological effects produced by antigen challenge in a neurone mimicked qualitatively and quantitatively those effects produced by exogenously applied histamine in the same neurone. Under current clamp the membrane effects of antigen and histamine included a transient depolarization, an increase in input resistance and transient blockade of a long‐duration component of the spike after‐hyperpolarization. In voltage clamp histamine and antigen produced an inward current and decreased membrane conductance. 4. Histamine H1, but not H2 or H3 receptor antagonists prevented the membrane depolarization to both histamine and antigen treatments. 5. These convergent biochemical, physiological and pharmacological data demonstrate that a sufficient quantity of endogenous histamine is released by an antigenic stimulus in SCG from sensitized guinea‐pigs to affect specific electrophysiological characteristics of neurones. Histamine may thus be involved in mediating interactions between the mammalian immune system and the peripheral sympathetic nervous system.
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