Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 452, Issue 1, pp 7–15 | Cite as

VIP receptors control excitability of suprachiasmatic nuclei neurones

  • Pavel Pakhotin
  • Anthony J. Harmar
  • Alexei Verkhratsky
  • Hugh Piggins
Cell and Molecular Physiology


The role of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) receptors on excitable properties of neurones in slices acutely prepared from the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of wild-type (WT) and VPAC2-receptor-deficient (Vipr2/) mice was studied under voltage clamp with the use of patch-clamp recording in the whole-cell configuration. The resting membrane potential in Vipr2/ neurones was significantly hyperpolarised as compared to WT cells (−60±7 vs −72±6 mV, p<0.01). Bath application of 100 nM VIP or the VPAC2 receptor agonist RO 25-1553 triggered a slow inward current in a subpopulation of WT SCN neurones; the VIP-induced current was not affected by slice incubation with 25 μM of bicuculline but disappeared completely when the cells were dialysed with CsCl-containing/K+-free solution. Application of VIP or RO 25-1553 to neurones from Vipr2/ mice did not induce currents in all cells tested. Incubation of WT slices with 100 nM VIP or RO 25-1553 resulted in inhibition of fast tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium currents and delayed rectifier K+ currents in most of the cells tested. This effect was completely absent in cells from Vipr2/ mice. We postulate that VIP receptors control excitability of SCN neurones at the postsynaptic level by direct modulation of membrane potential via inhibition of K+ channels and by tonic inhibition of sodium and potassium voltage-gated currents.


VIP receptors SCN Sodium currents Potassium currents Circadian Mouse 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pavel Pakhotin
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Harmar
    • 2
  • Alexei Verkhratsky
    • 1
  • Hugh Piggins
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Life SciencesThe University of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Centre for Neuroscience ResearchThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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