The spiking and secretory activity of oxytocin neurones in response to osmotic stimulation: a computational model

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Abstract

Magnocellular vasopressin and oxytocin neurones in the rat hypothalamus project to the posterior pituitary, where they secrete their products into the bloodstream. In rodents, both vasopressin and oxytocin magnocellular neurones are osmoresponsive, and their increased spiking activity is mainly a consequence of an increased synaptic input from osmoresponsive neurons in regions adjacent to the anterior wall of the third ventricle. Osmotically stimulated vasopressin secretion promotes antidiuresis while oxytocin secretion promotes natriuresis. In this work we tested a previously published computational model of the spiking and secretion activity of oxytocin cells against published evidence of changes in spiking activity and plasma oxytocin concentration in response to different osmotic challenges. We show that integrating this oxytocin model with a simple model of the osmoresponsive inputs to oxytocin cells achieves a strikingly close match to diverse sources of data. Comparing model predictions with published data using bicuculline to block inhibitory GABA inputs supports the conclusion that inhibitory inputs and excitatory inputs are co‐activated by osmotic stimuli. Finally, we studied how the gain of osmotically stimulated oxytocin release changes in the presence of a hypovolaemic stimulus, showing that this is best explained by an inhibition of an osmotically regulated inhibitory drive to the magnocellular neurones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3657-3671
JournalJournal of Physiology
Volume597
Issue number14
Early online date20 May 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019

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