Multi-factorial somato-dendritic regulation of phasic spike discharge in vasopressin neurons

Prog Brain Res. 2008;170:219-28. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(08)00419-6.


Classically, neuropeptide release occurs from axon terminals to influence post-synaptic neurons. However, it has become increasingly clear that many neurons in the central nervous system also release neuropeptide from their somata and dendrites. This somato-dendritic neuropeptide release can have many functions, amongst which is feedback modulation of activity. In addition, most central neurons also co-express other neurotransmitters/neuromodulators alongside their principal neurotransmitter, yet the function of these co-expressed factors is largely unknown. With regard to the function of somato-dendritic neuropeptide release, hypothalamic vasopressin neurons are amongst the best understood neurons in the central nervous system. Vasopressin neurons co-express a number of other neuropeptides including apelin, dynorphin and galanin as well as the purine, adenosine triphosphate. In addition to factors co-released during exocytosis, vasopressin neurons also generate nitric oxide. Each of these factors has been demonstrated to influence the activity of vasopressin neurons. For at least some of these factors, modulation of the activity of vasopressin neurons is activity dependent; suggesting that autocrine feedback regulation of activity might be an important role for somato-dendritic release of neuromodulators across the central nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cattle
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dynorphins / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Galanin / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropeptides / physiology
  • Periodicity
  • Stomach / physiology
  • Vasopressins / physiology*


  • Neuropeptides
  • Vasopressins
  • Dynorphins
  • Galanin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate