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Fed Proc. 1982 Nov;41(13):2953-8.

Intracellular electrophysiology of mammalian peptidergic neurons in rat hypothalamic slices.


The magnocellular neuropeptidergic cells (MNCs) of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei have been a model for biochemical and physiological studies of peptidergic neurons in the mammalian brain, but nearly all the electrophysiological studies of these vasopressinergic and oxytocinergic neuroendocrine cells are based on extracellular recordings. This paper reviews recent literature on electrophysiological properties of neurons in the magnocellular nuclei in which the rat in vitro slice preparation and intracellular recording were used. Spontaneously occurring action potentials and synaptic potentials (excitatory and inhibitory) have been observed in hypothalamic slices. The spike patterns have included slow and irregular firing, short rapid bursts of inactivating spikes, and slow phasic discharge with prolonged active and silent periods. Some studies have shown that increased osmolality causes neuronal firing, but this area is controversial. Intracellular injections of lucifer yellow have shown that some MNCs are dye-coupled and electron microscopic observations with the freeze-fracture technique have revealed occasional gap junctions, thus suggesting that some MNCs are electrotonically coupled. Both excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials have been evoked with extracellular stimulation. Therefore, action potentials, synaptic potentials, burst discharges, and probably electrotonic coupling have been found with intracellular recording in mammalian neuroendocrine cells. Future studies with intracellular recording and staining followed by immunohistochemical identification of cells should provide significant new information on the membrane physiology and synaptic pharmacology of vasopressinergic and oxytocinergic cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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