1. Nine normal subjects inhaled increasing concentrations of histamine aerosol from an aerosol generator attached to a breath-actuated dosimeter. The responses were monitored by measuring specific airways-conductance in a body plethysmograph, and the results were expressed as cumulative log dose-response curves. On separate days, histamine challenges were repeated after intravenous injections of sodium chloride solution (placebo), or an H1-receptor antagonist chlorpheniramine, or an H2-receptor antagonist cimetidine, or H1- and H2-receptor antagonists together. The anticholinergic activity of chlorpheniramine was estimated by comparing the effect of chlorpheniramine and atropine on methacholine challenge.
2. In all subjects the response to histamine was reproducible. Analysis of the variance showed that placebo did not alter the histamine dose-response curve significantly. In contrast, chlorpheniramine produced a large shift in the histamine dose-response curve to the right and cimetidine produced a significant shift of this curve to the right only at the highest dose of histamine. A combination of cimetidine and chlorpheniramine produced a shift not significantly different from that seen with chlorpheniramine alone. Chlorpheniramine showed no significant anticholinergic activity in this study.
3. In the normal subjects histamine-induced bronchoconstriction appeared to be mediated predominantly by the H1-receptors. The H2-receptor contributed very little to this bronchoconstriction.