Stretch-sensitive ion channels are ubiquitous, yet evidence of their role in mechanotransduction remains scarce. The presence of stretch-inactivated cation channels in supraoptic neurons is consistent with the osmoreceptor potentials regulating vasopressin release. However, whether osmosensitivity depends on mechanical gating and ion flux through stretch-inactivated channels is unknown. Here we report that changes in channel open probability associated either with modification of pipette pressure or with external osmolality selectivity result from variations in closed time. While channel mechanosensitivity and osmotically evoked changes in cell volume are not affected by gadolinium, similar concentrations of the lanthanide inhibit cation permeation through the single channels and macroscopic osmoreceptor potentials. Mechanotransduction through stretch-inactivated channels is therefore necessary for osmoreception in supraoptic neurons.