Orexin A depolarises rat intergeniculate leaflet neurons through non-selective cation channels

Eur J Neurosci. 2019 Aug;50(4):2683-2693. doi: 10.1111/ejn.14394. Epub 2019 Mar 25.


Orexins/hypocretins are hypothalamic neuropeptides that have a variety of functions, including maintenance of arousal, control over the sleep/wake cycle, reward and feeding. Accumulating evidence links orexins to the time-keeping system with a documented action in the master clock-the suprachiasmatic nucleus. The intergeniculate leaflet (IGL) is a thalamic structure with the well-known function of collecting photic and non-photic cues to adjust the rhythm of the suprachiasmatic nucleus to changing environmental conditions. The IGL consists of GABAergic neurons that are intrinsically active, even in slice preparations. Our previous studies revealed the excitatory postsynaptic effects of orexins on single IGL neurons, even though the ionic mechanism underlying this effect remained elusive. Therefore, in this study, we used patch clamp electrophysiology to identify the ions and distinct ion channels responsible for the observed depolarisations. The major finding of this article is that the orexin A-evoked depolarisation of IGL neurons depends on non-selective cation channels, implicating the orexinergic tone in establishing the basal firing rate in these cells. The data presented here strengthen the mutual connections between the time-keeping and orexinergic systems.

Keywords: intergeniculate leaflet; non-selective cation channels; orexins; patch clamp electrophysiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / drug effects*
  • Ion Channels / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Orexins / pharmacology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Potassium / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sodium / physiology
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / drug effects
  • Thalamic Nuclei / cytology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / drug effects*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • Ion Channels
  • Orexins
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Sodium
  • Potassium