SFO Neurons are Glucose Responsive
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Glucose is the primary metabolic signal reflecting the current energy state of the body. Glucose influences the excitability of neurons in the area postrema (AP), a circumventricular organ (CVO), prompting my interest in investigating whether the subfornical organ (SFO), another sensory CVO can also detect glucose. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology, we investigated the influence of changing glucose concentrations on the excitability of SFO neurons. In dissociated SFO neurons, altering the bath concentration of glucose (1mM, 5mM, 10mM) influenced the excitability of 49% of neurons tested (n=67). Glucose-inhibited (GI, hyperpolarized by increased glucose or depolarized by decreased glucose) and glucose-excited (GE, depolarized by increased glucose or hyperpolarized by decreased glucose) neurons were observed. GI neurons (27%, n=18) depolarized in response to decreased glucose (n=10, mean 4.6 ± 1.0 mV) or hyperpolarized in response to increased glucose (n=8, mean -4.4 ± 0.8 mV). In contrast, GE neurons (22%, n=15) depolarized in response to increased glucose (n=9, mean 6.4 ± 0.4) or hyperpolarized in response to decreased glucose (n=6, mean -4.8 ± 0.6 mV). These data show that glucose acts on a subpopulation of SFO neurons to produce both excitatory and inhibitory actions. Using voltage-clamp recordings two groups of SFO neurons were identified: those producing an outward current (GI) and those producing an inward current (GE) in response to increasing concentrations of glucose from 1 to 10 mM (n=23). The mean glucose-induced inward current had a reversal potential of -24 ± 12 mV (mean input resistance 2.0 ± 0.4 GΩ, n= 5), suggesting it may be mediated by a NSCC. The mean glucose-induced outward current (mean input resistance 1.7 ± 0.3 GΩ, n=7) had a mean reversal potential of -78 mV ± 1.2 mV (n = 5), suggesting it may be mediated by an activation of either K+ or Cl-current (ECl = -67 mV, EK = -89 mV). The SFO has projections to the PVN, a regulator of energy balance. I investigated the effects of increasing concentrations of glucose (1 to 10 mM) on the membrane potential of dissociated SFO neurons projecting to the PVN. Thirty percent of SFO-PVN neurons tested (n=10) responded with membrane hyperpolarizations (mean -4.2 ± 0.8 mV, n=3) suggesting a proportion of these cells are GI neurons. These data indicate that SFO neurons are glucose-responsive, which supports a role for the SFO as a regulator of energy balance.