Author(s): Hatton GI, Yang QZ
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Abstract Mitral cells of the main and accessory olfactory bulbs have been shown to project monosynaptically to the supraoptic nucleus (SON) via the lateral olfactory tract (LOT) which uses excitatory amino acid transmitters. Data collected during characterization of these projections suggested that synaptic activation of SON neurons via LOT stimulation in slices influenced the incidence of dye-coupling. The present study pursued this suggestion using horizontally cut slices from male, virgin female and lactating rats. Neurons were confirmed to be excited by electrical stimulation of the tract, injected with Lucifer yellow, and synaptically activated for 10 min at 10 Hz (n = 92). Another 94 neurons were similarly confirmed and injected, but received no further stimulation. In an additional 8 slices, injected neurons were antidromically activated for 10 min at 10 Hz. Analyses done on 194 injected neurons from the 3 groups showed that synaptic activation resulted in a significant (P less than 0.01) increase in the incidence of coupling only in tissue from lactating rats. This increase was entirely due to larger numbers of cells being coupled dendrodendritically to the injected cells in the stimulated slices. Antidromic activation did not influence coupling. Increased coupling occurred among both oxytocin and vasopressin cell types. This is the first report of increased coupling resulting from synaptic activation in mammalian CNS. Changes seen only in lactating rats may be related to their altered SON ultrastructural morphology (i.e. dendritic bundling). Strong olfactory and vomeronasal input associated with some maternal behaviors may increase neuronal coupling and enhance hormone release in response to other incoming stimuli (e.g. suckling, dehydration).
This article was published in Brain Res
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access