Journal of Computational Neuroscience

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 143–168 | Cite as

Somato-dendritic mechanisms underlying the electrophysiological properties of hypothalamic magnocellular neuroendocrine cells: A multicompartmental model study

  • Alexander O. KomendantovEmail author
  • Natalia A. Trayanova
  • Jeffrey G. Tasker


Magnocellular neuroendocrine cells (MNCs) of the hypothalamus synthesize the neurohormones vasopressin and oxytocin, which are released into the blood and exert a wide spectrum of actions, including the regulation of cardiovascular and reproductive functions. Vasopressin- and oxytocin-secreting neurons have similar morphological structure and electrophysiological characteristics. A realistic multicompartmental model of a MNC with a bipolar branching structure was developed and calibrated based on morphological and in vitro electrophysiological data in order to explore the roles of ion currents and intracellular calcium dynamics in the intrinsic electrical MNC properties. The model was used to determine the likely distributions of ion conductances in morphologically distinct parts of the MNCs: soma, primary dendrites and secondary dendrites. While reproducing the general electrophysiological features of MNCs, the model demonstrates that the differential spatial distributions of ion channels influence the functional expression of MNC properties, and reveals the potential importance of dendritic conductances in these properties.


Hypothalamic neuron Oxytocin Vasopressin Dendritic conductance Multicompartmental model 



We thank Dr. Cherif Boudaba for providing recordings of MNC spiking activity. This work was supported by U.S. Department of Energy Grant DE-FG02-01ER63119 (to the Tulane University Center for Computational Science), and National Institutes of Health grants NS039099 (to J. G. Tasker) and HL063195 (to N.A. Trayanova).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander O. Komendantov
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Natalia A. Trayanova
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeffrey G. Tasker
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Center for Computational ScienceTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Division of Neurobiology, Department of Cell and Molecular BiologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  4. 4.Neuroscience ProgramTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA
  5. 5.Department of Neurobiology and AnatomyDrexel University College of MedicinePhiladelphiaUSA

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