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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Secretin depolarizes nucleus tractus solitarius neurons through activation of a nonselective cationic conductance.

The recent suggestion that secretin may be useful in treating autism and schizophrenia has begun to focus attention on the mechanisms underlying this gut-brain peptide's actions in the central nervous system (CNS). In vitro autoradiographic localization of (125)I-secretin binding sites in rat brain shows the highest binding density in the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). Recent evidence suggests that intravenous infusion of secretin causes fos activation in NTS, a relay station playing important roles in the central regulation of autonomic functions. In this study, whole cell patch-clamp recordings were obtained from 127 NTS neurons in rat medullary slices. The mean resting membrane potential of these neurons was -54.7 +/- 0.3 mV, the mean input resistance was 3.7 +/- 0.2 GOmega, and the action potential amplitude of these neurons was always >70 mV. Current-clamp studies showed that bath application of secretin depolarized the majority (80.8%; 42/52) of NTS neurons tested, whereas the remaining cells were either unaffected (17.3%; 9/52) or hyperpolarized (1.9%; 1/52). These depolarizing effects were maintained in the presence of 5 microM TTX and found to be concentration dependent from 10(-12) to 10(-7) M. Using voltage-clamp techniques, we also identified modulatory actions of secretin on specific ion channels. Our results demonstrate that while secretin is without effect on net whole cell potassium currents, it activates a nonselective cationic conductance (NSCC). These results show that NTS neurons are activated by secretin as a consequence of activation of a NSCC and support the emerging view that secretin can act as a neuropeptide within the CNS.[1]


  1. Secretin depolarizes nucleus tractus solitarius neurons through activation of a nonselective cationic conductance. Yang, B., Goulet, M., Boismenu, R., Ferguson, A.V. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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