Vasopressin pp 257-274 | Cite as

Electrophysiological Actions of Vasopressin in Extrahypothalamic Regions of the Central Nervous System

  • M. Joëls


During the 1960s, De Wied and colleagues (De Wied, 1965; De Wied and Bohus, 1966) showed that the impaired conditioned avoidance behavior of hypophysec-tomized rats could be normalized if these animals were treated with a vasopressin (VP)-enriched pituitary extract (pitressin). This finding provided the first evidence that VP is implicated in centrally regulated processes, in addition to its role in the periphery as a hormone acting on blood pressure and water metabolism. Since then, numerous studies have further delineated the role of VP in central integrative processes, including learning and memory processes (reviewed by De Wied, 1984; see also Chapter 14, this volume), central cardiovascular regulation (reviewed by Doris, 1984; see also Chapter 10, this volume), and temperature regulation (reviewed by Veale et al., 1981). Important in understanding how VP can exert these central influences was the immunocytochemical demonstration of a VP-containing fiber network in the central nervous system (CNS) (Buijs, 1978; Buijs et al., 1978; Sofroniew and Weindl, 1978; see Chapter 2, this volume). The central VP-containing fiber network provides the anatomical substrate for distribution of VP from its sites of synthesis in the hypothalamus to extrahypothalamic areas in the CNS. In some of the extrahypothalamic regions, VP appeared to be localized in synapticlike terminals (Buijs and Swaab, 1979). Evidence for synaptic release of VP from terminal networks was inferred from in vitro experiments showing Ca2+-dependent release of VP from brain slices with a depolarizing stimulus (Buijs and Van Heerikhuize, 1982). It is conceivable that after release of the peptide in the terminal zone, changes in the local neuronal activity occur. Electrophysiological studies were initiated to determine whether VP can indeed alter the neuronal activity in these target areas for the peptide.


Pyramidal Neuron Diabetes Insipidus Excitatory Amino Acid Arginine Vasopressin Paradoxical Sleep 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Joëls
    • 1
  1. 1.Rudolf Magnus Institute for PharmacologyUniversity of UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands

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