Integration of sodium and osmosensory signals in vasopressin neurons

Trends Neurosci. 2002 Apr;25(4):199-205. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(02)02142-2.


Vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone) release has been thought to be controlled by interacting osmoreceptors and Na(+)-detectors for > 20 years. Only recently, however, have molecular and cellular advances revealed how changes in the external concentration of Na+ and osmolality are detected during acute and chronic osmotic perturbations. In rat vasopressin-containing neurons, local osmosensitivity is conferred by intrinsic stretch-inactivated cation channels and by taurine release from surrounding glia. Na+ detection is accomplished by acute regulation of the permeability of stretch-inactivated channels and by changes in Na+ channel gene expression. These features provide a first glimpse of the integrative processes at work in a central osmoregulatory reflex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / cytology
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Sodium Channels / metabolism
  • Taurine / metabolism
  • Vasopressins / metabolism*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology*


  • Sodium Channels
  • Vasopressins
  • Taurine
  • Sodium