Electrical Activity of Neurosecretory Terminals and Control of Peptide Hormone Release

  • Ian M. Cooke
Part of the Current Topics in Neurobiology book series (CTNB)


Nerve cells specialized for the release of peptide hormones to the circulation, i.e., classic neurosecretory cells, retain their full complement of neuronal properties. Their activity is under control of the CNS through excitatory and inhibitory synaptic mediation. They integrate these influences with their own capabilities for endogenous activity to ultimately generate action potentials propagated to the secretory terminals. They represent the “final neuroendocrine pathway” (Knowles, 1974; E. Scharrer, 1965). In this chapter, I wish to examine the relationship between those action potentials that are propagated to the secretory terminals and release of peptide hormones from them. How much of the extensive, detailed knowledge of the mechanisms governing the release of transmitters at synapses (for reviews, see, for example, Katz, 1969; Gerschenfeld, 1973) is applicable to release of peptides from neurosecretory terminals? Are there modifications of the electrical activity of neurosecretory cells, particularly their terminals, that are related to peptide secretion? For example, is the longer duration of action potentials, well documented for the neuron somata, also a feature of neurosecretory axons and terminals, and what is its significance? What is the significance for hormone release of the “spontaneous” activity often recorded from neurosecretory cells, and of firing in bursts or patterned activity?


Electrical Response Hormone Release Neurosecretory Cell Repetitive Stimulation Peptide Secretion 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian M. Cooke
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Sensory Sciences and Department of ZoologyUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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