Letter | Published:

Vasopressin excites hippocampal neurones

Nature volume 296, pages 749751 (22 April 1982) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

Hypothalmic supraoptic and paraventricular neurones were the first peptidergic cells to be described in the mammalian brain1. Most of these large nerve cells synthesize either oxytocin or vasopressin2, as well as their respective neurophysins, and project to the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. This system of neurones is responsible for the release of these peptides into blood vessels of the posterior lobe in response to appropriate stimuli. Data obtained using immunoassay and immuno-cytochemical methods, however, have revealed vasopressin-like immunoreactive material3,4 as well as vasopressin-positive axons5–7 and presynaptic terminals8 in other central nervous system (CNS) locations. Moreover, vasopressin has been shown to affect some aspects of animal behaviour, including memory retention9–13. It has therefore been suggested that vasopressin may act as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator at synapses in the brain. We show here that low concentrations (10−8–10−6 M) of vasopressin powerfully and reversibly increase the rate of firing of neurones in the CA1 area of hippocampal slices front rat and that this effect can be fully antagonized by an anti-vasopressor vasopressin analogue. Hippocampal neurones obtained from Brattleboro rats were also excited by exogenous vasopressin.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Physiology, University of Geneva Medical School, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland

    • M. Mühlethaler
    •  & J. J. Dreifuss
  2. Preclinical Research, Sandoz Ltd, 4002 Basle, Switzerland

    • B. H. Gähwiler

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https://doi.org/10.1038/296749a0

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