Effects of sedative and non-sedative H1 antagonists on cognitive tasks: Behavioral and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) examinations

Takeo Tsujii, Eriko Yamamoto, Takayuki Ohira, Nozomu Saito, Shigeru Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: It is well known that the newer H1-receptor antagonists elicit better performance of working memory and selective attention relative to the first generation drugs in this class. However, the neural correlates of the poorer performance associated with first-generation H 1-receptor antagonists remain unknown. Objectives: This study examined the effects of first- and second-generation H1-receptor antagonists on neural correlates of cognitive tasks using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), a novel method of brain imaging suitable for psychological experiments. Materials and methods: We measured the NIRS responses of 12 healthy volunteer subjects during the performance of working memory, selective attention, and visual perception tasks, 3 h after taking a first-generation antagonist (ketotifen), second-generation antagonist (epinastine), or placebo. We also measured subjective sleepiness by visual analogue scale (VAS) test. Results: Cortical activation at the lateral prefrontal region increased during the performance of working memory and selective attention tasks in subjects receiving epinastine and placebo but not in those who took ketotifen. No significant difference was observed at the occipital region in the visual perception task among the three drug groups. VAS score and the behavioral performance during working memory and visual perception tasks indicated sedative effects of ketotifen consistent with the findings of previous studies. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the neural response for working memory and selective attention task was impaired by the administration of ketotifen in comparison with that of epinastine and placebo. The sedative effect in the neural response was not observed after epinastine administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sep


  • Epinastine
  • H-receptor antagonist
  • Histamine
  • Ketotifen
  • Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS)
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Selective attention
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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