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Brain Res. 2014 Mar 6;1550:9-17. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2014.01.007. Epub 2014 Jan 15.

The coupling features of electrical synapses modulate neuronal synchrony in hypothalamic superachiasmatic nucleus.

Author information

1
Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China; University School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China.
2
Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China.
3
Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China. Electronic address: jhw@sun5.ibp.ac.cn.

Abstract

Electrical synapses (gap junctions) exist in many types of neurons in the mammalian brain, especially during early development period; one of the most important roles of electrical synapses is to mediate the synchrony of the neuronal networks and to coordinate the neural circuits function precisely. Previous reports show that electrical coupling is involved in modulating synchronous activity among coupled neurons, but related dynamics and mechanisms are still poorly understood. Here, in order to investigate the correlation between gap junctions and synchrony we focus on the electrically coupled neurons in suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) by using calcium imaging with two-photon microscopy and electrophysiology. We observed that coupled neurons in SCN present a dynamic regulation on synchrony based on their coupling strengths and are modulated by vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) - a neuropeptide whose receptors are expressed throughout the SCN. Modification of coupling efficiency of electrical synapses changes the synchrony level of the neuronal networks in the SCN. Our results provide new insights into the causal relationship between gap junctions and synchrony in the SCN. We further demonstrate the importance of VIP in coordinating the gap junctions-mediated signal transmission and implicate that a homeostasis environment is important for SCN to modulate the rhythmic circadian activities.

KEYWORDS:

Coupling coefficient; Electrical synapse; Neuronal network; Suprachiasmatic nucleus; Synchrony; Vasoactive intestinal peptide

PMID:
24440632
DOI:
10.1016/j.brainres.2014.01.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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