Neuronal/glial plasticity in the supraoptic dendritic zone in response to acute and chronic dehydration

Brain Res. 1985 Dec 30;361(1-2):225-32. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(85)91293-4.


The magnocellular neurosecretory cells of the supraoptic nucleus increase production and secretion of oxytocin and/or vasopressin in response to dehydration, gestation and lactation. Dynamic neuronal/glial interactions have also been shown to occur in response to these stimuli, resulting in a reversible increase in soma-somatic direct membrane apposition at these times. Chronic (lactation, 10 days of saline drinking) but not acute stimuli (4-24 h water deprivation) are further accompanied by the reversible formation of axo-somatic double synapses (one presynaptic terminal contacting two postsynaptic elements), which are virtually absent in control animals. The dendrites of these cells course ventrolaterally toward the ventral glial lamina, and have also been shown to be involved in this plasticity: dendro-dendritic direct membrane apposition and axo-somatic double synapses significantly vary with gestation and parturition. The present study investigated the dendritic zone response to both chronic and acute dehydration and rehydration. Increased dendro-dendritic membrane contacts resulted from both stimuli. Rehydration following acute dehydration resulted in a dose-dependent return to control levels, while rehydrated chronic dehydrates did not show such a return until 35 days of rehydration. The percentage of dendrites contacted by double synapses did not vary with treatment, and there were no sex differences. The recalcitrance on the part of the dendrites to return to normal following chronic dehydration may reflect a readiness to respond to renewed hormone demand.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dehydration / physiopathology*
  • Dendrites / physiology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Drinking
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neuroglia / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Rats
  • Sex Factors
  • Supraoptic Nucleus / physiopathology*
  • Synapses / physiology