Response of substances co-expressed in hypothalamic magnocellular neurons to osmotic challenges in normal and Brattleboro rats

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2008 Dec;28(8):1033-47. doi: 10.1007/s10571-008-9306-x. Epub 2008 Sep 5.


The intention of this review is to emphasize the current knowledge about the extent and importance of the substances co-localized with magnocellular arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OXY) as potential candidates for the gradual clarification of their actual role in the regulation of hydromineral homeostasis. Maintenance of the body hydromineral balance depends on the coordinated action of principal biologically active compounds, AVP and OXY, synthesized in the hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei. However, on the regulation of water-salt balance, other substances, co-localized with the principal neuropetides, participate. These can be classified as (1) peptides co-localized with AVP or OXY with unambiguous osmotic function, including angiotensin II, apelin, corticotropin releasing hormone, and galanin and (2) peptides co-localized with AVP or OXY with an unknown role in osmotic regulation, including cholecystokinin, chromogranin/secretogranin, dynorphin, endothelin-1, enkephalin, ferritin protein, interleukin 6, kininogen, neurokinin B, neuropeptide Y, vasoactive intestinal peptide, pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide, TAFA5 protein, thyrotropin releasing hormone, tyrosine hydroxylase, and urocortin. In this brief review, also the responses of these substances to different hyperosmotic and hypoosmotic challenges are pointed out. Based on the literature data published recently, the functional implication of the majority of co-localized substances is still better understood in non-osmotic than osmotic functional circuits. Brattleboro strain of rats that does not express functional vasopressin was also included in this review. These animals suffer from chronic hypernatremia and hyperosmolality, accompanied by sustained increase in OXY mRNA in PVN and SON and OXY levels in plasma. They represent an important model of animals with constantly sustained osmolality, which in the future, will be utilizable for revealing the physiological importance of biologically active substances co-expressed with AVP and OXY, involved in the regulation of plasma osmolality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Hypothalamus / physiopathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Osmosis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Brattleboro
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology


  • Neuropeptides