Electrophysiological study of the effects of arginine vasopressin in the rat juxtacapsular nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis
Naughton, Michael H.
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Arginine vasopressin (AVP), a nine amino acid neuropeptide (CYFQNCPRG- NH2) fulfills a dual function: (i) in the periphery, AVP acts as a peptide hormone and (ii) in the CNS, AVP is a neuromodulatory peptide. AVP produces its effects through 3 AVP receptors (AVPRs). AVPR1a and AVPR1b are expressed in the CNS and periphery, whilst AVPR2 is not found centrally but instead solely expressed in the kidneys. Recent evidence revealed a high density of AVP-binding sites in the juxtacapsular nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (jxBNST). While in other regions of the brain, AVP acts at AVPRs to regulate an array of biological processes, including male-typical social behaviours, social memory, stress adaptation, fear, anxiety, and fluid homeostasis, its role in the jxBNST remains elusive. Furthermore, the neurophysiological properties of AVP in the jxBNST are unknown so this study aimed to examine how AVP modulates synaptic transmission in the rat jxBNST. The BNST being one of the most notable sexually dimorphic brain regions and AVPR expression being influenced by gonadal steroids, we investigated the putative influence of sex on the modulatory effects of AVP in the jxBNST. Finally, due to AVP being released at a substantially higher concentration following periods of water deprivation, we examined changes in AVPs modulatory role following water deprivation. Male and female Long Evans rats were euthanized and brain slice whole-cell voltage-clamp electrophysiology was done in the jxBNST to measure the effects of AVP on synaptic transmission of GABA synapses. Exogenous application of AVP produced three responses; either postsynaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) of GABAA-inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSC), postsynaptic long-term depression (LTD) of GABAA-IPSC, or no change in GABAA-IPSC amplitudes. Interestingly, the proportion of neurons responding in each of these ways did not differ between sexes and within females was not estrous cycle-dependent. Finally, although not statistically significant, 24-hour water deprivation abolished GABAA-LTD, an effect that was not a consequence of social isolation. Taken together, our data show that AVP modulates GABAA synaptic transmission in the jxBNST in fluid homeostasis- but not sex-dependent manner.