Angiotensin depolarizes parvocellular neurons in paraventricular nucleus through modulation of putative nonselective cationic and potassium conductances
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Neurosecretory parvocellular neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) exercise considerable influence over the adenohypophysis and thus play a critical role in neuroendocrine regulation. ANG II has been demonstrated to act as a neurotransmitter in PVN, exerting significant impact on neuronal excitability and also influencing corticotrophin-releasing hormone secretion from the median eminence and, therefore, release of ACTH from the pituitary. We have used whole cell patch-clamp techniques in hypothalamic slices to examine the effects of ANG II on the excitability of neurosecretory parvocellular neurons. ANG II application resulted in a dose-dependent depolarization of neurosecretory neurons, a response that was maintained in tetrodotoxin (TTX), suggesting a direct mechanism of action. The depolarizing actions of this peptide were abolished by losartan, demonstrating these effects are AT(1) receptor mediated. Voltage-clamp analysis using slow voltage ramps revealed that ANG II activates a voltage-independent conductance with a reversal potential of -37.8 +/- 3.8 mV, suggesting ANG II effects on a nonselective cationic current. Further, a sustained potassium current characteristic of I(K) was significantly reduced (29.1 +/- 4.7%) by ANG II. These studies identify multiple postsynaptic modulatory sites through which ANG II can influence the excitability of neurosecretory parvocellular PVN neurons and, as a consequence of such actions, control hormonal secretion from the anterior pituitary.
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