Osmoregulation of vasopressin neurons: a synergy of intrinsic and synaptic processes

Prog Brain Res. 1998;119:59-76. doi: 10.1016/s0079-6123(08)61562-9.


The release of vasopressin into the general circulation varies as a function of plasma osmolality and therefore plays a major role in systemic osmoregulation. In vivo, the secretion of this hormone in the neurohypophysis is primarily determined by the rate of action potential discharge of the magnocellular neurosecretory cells (MNCs) in the hypothalamus. Experiments done over the past 20 years have clarified much of the neurophysiological basis underlying this important osmoregulatory reflex. As discussed here, recent findings indicate that the regulation of the firing rate of MNCs during changes in systemic osmolality involves the concerted modulation of mechanosensitive ion channels in MNCs, as well as excitatory glutamatergic inputs derived from forebrain regions such as the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Mammals
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Vasopressins / physiology*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology*


  • Vasopressins