The task of the vasopressin system is homeostasis, a type of process which is fundamental to the brain's regulation of the body, exists in many different systems, and is vital to health and survival. Many illnesses are related to the dysfunction of homeostatic systems, including high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Beyond the vasopressin system's own importance, in regulating osmotic pressure, it presents an accessible model where we can learn how the features of homeostatic systems generally relate to their function, and potentially develop treatments. The vasopressin system is an important model system in neuroscience because it presents an accessible system in which to investigate the function and importance of, for example, dendritic release and burst firing, both of which are found in many systems of the brain. We have only recently begun to understand the contribution of dendritic release to neuronal function and information processing. Burst firing has most commonly been associated with rhythm generation; in this system it clearly plays a different role, still to be understood fully.
- Phasic firing
- Dendritic release