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J Neurosci. 1997 Jan 1;17(1):363-71.

Electrophysiological and immunocytochemical evidence for a cGMP-mediated inhibition of subfornical organ neurons by nitric oxide.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Physiologische und Klinische Forschung, W. G. Kerckhoff-Institut, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany.


The activation of neurons in the subfornical organ (SFO) by angiotensin II (AngII) is well established and is widely regarded as the basis for the AngII-induced increase in water intake. Application of the nitric oxide (NO) donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) led to an inhibition of the spontaneous electrical activity in 96% of the neurons sensitive for SNP (n = 50). In addition, the firing rate in 60% of the neurons inhibited by SNP decreased in response to superfusion with the natural substrate of the NO synthase (NOS) L-arginine whereas 70% increased their frequency after application of the NOS blocker NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA; n = 10). The inhibitory effect of SNP could be mimicked by application of membrane-permeable 8-Br-cGMP. The presence of nNOS, the neuronal isoform of NOS, was demonstrated immunocytochemically and using the NADPH-diaphorase technique on SFO slices. Using a highly selective antibody against cGMP in formaldehyde-fixed tissue, the NO donors SNP, 3-morpholinosydnonimine (SIN-1), and S-nitroso-N-acetyl-DL-penicillamine (SNAP) caused a strong increase in cGMP formation when applied under the same conditions as used for the electrophysiological recordings. These electrophysiological results suggest an important role for NO in SFO-mediated responses and offer a plausible explanation for the in vivo-observed opposite effects of AngII and NO on water intake.

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