Send to

Choose Destination
Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):217-29. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.12.024.

Synchronized network oscillations in rat tuberoinfundibular dopamine neurons: switch to tonic discharge by thyrotropin-releasing hormone.

Author information

Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


The pituitary hormone, prolactin, triggers lactation in nursing mothers. Under nonlactating conditions, prolactin secretion is suppressed by powerful inhibition from hypothalamic tuberoinfundibular dopamine (TIDA) neurons. Although firing pattern has been suggested as integral to neuroendocrine control, the electrical behavior of TIDA cells remains unknown. We demonstrate that rat TIDA neurons discharge rhythmically in a robust 0.05 Hz oscillation. The oscillation is phase locked between neurons, and while it persists during chemical synaptic transmission blockade, it is abolished by gap junction antagonists. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) potently stimulates prolactin release, an effect assumed to take place in the pituitary. In TIDA cells, TRH caused a transition from phasic to tonic firing through combined pre- and postsynaptic effects. These findings suggest a model for prolactin regulation where a TIDA network switch from oscillations to sustained discharge converts dopamine from an antagonist at high concentrations to a functional agonist as dopamine output from the network decreases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center