Simultaneous Antagonism at H3R/D2R/D3R Reduces Autism-like Self-Grooming and Aggressive Behaviors by Mitigating MAPK Activation in Mice

Nermin Eissa, Mohamed Al Awad, Shilu Deepa Thomas, Karthikkumar Venkatachalam, Petrilla Jayaprakash, Sicheng Zhong, Holger Stark, Bassem Sadek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Dysregulation in brain neurotransmitters underlies several neuropsychiatric disorders, e.g., autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Also, abnormalities in the extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway pave the way for neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration, and altered learning phenotype in ASD. Therefore, the effects of chronic systemic administration of the multiple-targeting antagonist ST-713 at the histamine H3 receptor (H3R) and dopamine D2/D3 receptors (D2/D3R) on repetitive self-grooming, aggressive behaviors, and abnormalities in the MAPK pathway in BTBR T + Itpr3tf/J (BTBR) mice were assessed. The results showed that ST-713 (2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg, i.p.) mitigated repetitive self-grooming and aggression in BTBR mice (all p < 0.05), and the ameliorative effects of the most promising dose of ST-713 (5 mg/kg, i.p.) on behaviors were completely abrogated by co-administration of the H3R agonist (R)-α-methylhistamine or the anticholinergic drug scopolamine. Moreover, the elevated levels of several MAPK pathway proteins and induced proinflammatory markers such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and IL-6 were significantly suppressed following chronic administration of ST-713 (5 mg/kg, i.p.) (all p < 0.01). Furthermore, ST-713 significantly increased the levels of histamine and dopamine in hippocampal tissue of treated BTBR mice (all p < 0.01). The current observations signify the potential role of such multiple-targeting compounds, e.g., ST-713, in multifactorial neurodevelopmental disorders such as ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number526
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • BTBR mice
  • MAPK proteins
  • aggressive behaviors
  • autistic spectrum disorder
  • dopamine
  • dopamine D2/D3R antagonist
  • histamine
  • histamine H3 receptor antagonist
  • neuroinflammation
  • repetitive self-grooming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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