Electrophysiological Properties of Melanin-Concentrating Hormone and Orexin Neurons in Adolescent Rats

Linehan, Victoria and Hirasawa, Michiru (2018) Electrophysiological Properties of Melanin-Concentrating Hormone and Orexin Neurons in Adolescent Rats. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 12. ISSN 1662-5102

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Orexin and melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons have complementary roles in various physiological functions including energy balance and the sleep/wake cycle. in vitro electrophysiological studies investigating these cells typically use post-weaning rodents, corresponding to adolescence. However, it is unclear whether these neurons are functionally mature at this period and whether these studies can be generalized to adult cells. Therefore, we examined the electrophysiological properties of orexin and MCH neurons in brain slices from post-weaning rats and found that MCH neurons undergo an age-dependent reduction in excitability, but not orexin neurons. Specifically, MCH neurons displayed an age-dependent hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential (RMP), depolarizing shift of the threshold, and decrease in excitatory transmission, which reach the adult level by 7 weeks of age. In contrast, basic properties of orexin neurons were stable from 4 weeks to 14 weeks of age. Furthermore, a robust short-term facilitation of excitatory synapses was found in MCH neurons, which showed age-dependent changes during the post-weaning period. On the other hand, a strong short-term depression was observed in orexin neurons, which was similar throughout the same period. These differences in synaptic responses and age dependence likely differentially affect the network activity within the lateral hypothalamus where these cells co-exist. In summary, our study suggests that orexin neurons are electrophysiologically mature before adolescence whereas MCH neurons continue to develop until late adolescence. These changes in MCH neurons may contribute to growth spurts or consolidation of adult sleep patterns associated with adolescence. Furthermore, these results highlight the importance of considering the age of animals in studies involving MCH neurons.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/13649
Item ID: 13649
Additional Information: Memorial University Open Access Author's Fund
Keywords: melanin-concentrating hormone, orexin, hypocretin, lateral hypothalamus, development, adolescence, patch clamp, short-term synaptic plasticity
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of > Biomedical Sciences
Date: 13 March 2018
Date Type: Publication
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