Variation in sodium current amplitude between vasopressin and oxytocin hypothalamic supraoptic neurons

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Biophysical characteristics of tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium (Na+) currents were studied in vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) supraoptic neurons acutely isolated from rat hypothalamus. Na+ current density (pA/pF) was significantly greater in VP neurons than in OT neurons. No significant difference between VP and OT neurons was detected regarding the voltage dependence of activation and steady-state inactivation, or rate of recovery from inactivation of Na+ currents. In both VP and OT neurons, the macroscopic inactivation of the Na+ currents was best fitted with a double-exponential expression suggesting two rates of inactivation. Also in both types, the time course of recovery from inactivation proceeded with fast and slow time constants averaging around 8 and 350 ms, respectively, suggesting the presence of multiple pathways of recovery from inactivation. The slower time constant of recovery of inactivation may be involved in the decrease in action potential (AP) amplitude that occurs after the first spike during burst firing in both neuronal types. The larger amplitude of Na+ currents in VP vs. OT neurons may explain the previous observations that VP neurons exhibit a lower AP threshold and greater AP amplitude than OT neurons, and may serve to differently tune the firing properties and responses to neuromodulators of the respective neuronal types. © 2013 the American Physiological Society.

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Journal of Neurophysiology

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