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Front Neuroendocrinol. 2014 Oct;35(4):420-38. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

TIDAL WAVES: Network mechanisms in the neuroendocrine control of prolactin release.

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Dept. of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Retzius v. 8, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.
Dept. of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Retzius v. 8, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address:


Neuroendocrine tuberoinfundibular dopamine (TIDA) neurons tonically inhibit pituitary release of the hormone, prolactin. Through the powerful actions of prolactin in promoting lactation and maternal behaviour while suppressing sexual drive and fertility, TIDA neurons play a key role in reproduction. We summarize insights from recent in vitro studies into the membrane properties and network behaviour of TIDA neurons including the observations that TIDA neurons exhibit a robust oscillation that is synchronized between cells and depends on intact gap junction communication. Comparisons are made with phasic firing patterns in other neuronal populations. Modulators involved in the control of lactation - including serotonin, thyrotropin-releasing hormone and prolactin itself - have been shown to change the electrical behaviour of TIDA cells. We propose that TIDA discharge mode may play a central role in tuning the amount of dopamine delivered to the pituitary and hence circulating prolactin concentrations in different reproductive states and pathological conditions.


Arcuate nucleus; Dopamine; Electrophysiology; Feedback; Ion channel; Lactation; Neuromodulator; Oscillation; Prolactin; Tuberoinfundibular

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