Homogeneity of intracellular electrophysiological properties in different neuronal subtypes in medial preoptic slices containing the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the rat

Neil W. Hoffman, Yang I. Kim, Roger A. Gorski, F. Edward Dude

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28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN‐POA) is larger in male than in female rats, the male phenotype requiring the presence of circulating androgens perinatally. These experiments investigated the intracellular electrophysiology and morphology of SDN‐POA neurons and compared these properties with those of other medial preoptic area (MPOA) neurons. Biocytin‐injected cells in the SDN‐POA either had one or two primary dendrites, or they had multipolar dendritic arrays; dendrites were aspiny or sparsely spiny and displayed limited branching. Neurons in other parts of the MPOA were similar morphologically. Regardless of morphology, neurons situated in either the SDN‐POA or surrounding MPOA had low‐threshold potentials and linear or nearly linear current‐voltage relations. In most (73%) cells, stimulation of the dorsal preoptic region evoked a fast excitatory postsynaptic potential followed by a fast inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP). Bicuculline blocked the fast IPSPs, which reversed near the Cl2 equilibrium potential (‐71 ± 5mV), indicating their mediation by gamma‐aminobutyric acid (GABA)A receptors. Neurons in the SDN‐POA have electrophysiological properties similar to those of other medial preoptic cells. When compared with the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, the MPOA appears relatively homogeneous electrophysiologically. This is despite the morphological variability within this population of neurons and heterogeneities that are also apparent at other levels of analysis. Finally, GABA‐mediated, inhibitory synaptic contacts are widespread among medial preoptic neurons, consistent with indications from earlier reports that GABA provides a link in the feedback actions of gonadal steroids on the release of gonadotropic hormones. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-408
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume345
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Jul 15

Keywords

  • biocytin
  • gamma‐aminobutyric acid
  • intracellular recording
  • low‐threshold Ca spikes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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