Unique Organization of Actin Cytoskeleton in Magnocellular Vasopressin Neurons in Normal Conditions and in Response to Salt-Loading Academic Article uri icon

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  • Magnocellular neurosecretory cells (MNCs) are intrinsically osmosensitive and can be activated by increases in blood osmolality, triggering the release of antidiuretic hormone vasopressin (VP) to promote water retention. Hence, the activity of magnocellular VP neurons is one of the key elements contributing to the regulation of body fluid homeostasis in healthy organisms. Chronic exposure to high dietary salt leads to excessive activation of VP neurons, thereby elevating levels of circulating VP, which can cause increases in blood pressure contributing to salt-dependent hypertension. However, the molecular basis underlying high-salt diet-induced hyperactivation of magnocellular VP neurons remains not fully understood. Previous studies suggest that magnocellular neurosecretory neurons contain a subcortical layer of actin filaments and pharmacological stabilization of this actin network potentiates osmotically-induced activation of magnocellular neurons. Using super-resolution imaging in situ, we investigated the organization of the actin cytoskeleton in rat MNCs under normal physiological conditions and after a chronic increase in blood osmolality following 7 d of salt-loading (SL). We found that, in addition to the subcortical layer of actin filaments, magnocellular VP neurons are endowed with a unique network of cytoplasmic actin filaments throughout their somata. Moreover, we revealed that the density of both subcortical and cytoplasmic actin networks in magnocellular VP neurons is dramatically increased following SL. These results suggest that increased osmo-responsiveness of VP neurons following chronic exposure to high dietary salt may be mediated by the modulation of unique actin networks in magnocellular VP neurons, possibly contributing to elevated blood pressure in this condition.


  • Barad, Zsuzsanna
  • Jacob-Tomas, Suleima
  • Sobrero, Alberto
  • Lean, Graham
  • Hicks, Amirah-Iman
  • Yang, Jieyi
  • Choe, Katrina
  • Prager-Khoutorsky, Masha

publication date

  • March 2020

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