Bile Duct Ligation Changes the Inhibitory Control of Vasopressin Neurons in Male Rats

Ato O. Aikins, Courtney Brock, Joel T. Little, George E. Farmer, J. T. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dilutional hyponatremia typically is caused by increased Arginine Vasopressin (AVP) secretion. This increases the risk of complications and mortality in patients with liver cirrhosis. Liver cirrhosis in male rats increases AVP release but the underlying mechanisms are still under investigation. In other models of chronic AVP release, changes in chloride homeostasis alters the inhibitory control of AVP neurons in the supraoptic nucleus (SON) causing GABA mediated excitation instead of inhibition. In the bile duct ligation (BDL) model of cirrhosis, changes in either intracellular chloride concentration or cell firing activity have not been directly tested. We hypothesize that liver cirrhosis increases intracellular chloride concentration leading to a decrease in GABA-mediated inhibition of SON neurons from male rats. To test this hypothesis, we injected an adeno-associated virus with a vasopressin promoter and a ratiometric chloride indicator, AAV2-0VP1-ClopHensorN into the SON of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats either received BDL surgery, which was used to model liver cirrhosis, or a sham ligation surgery. All BDL rats had significantly higher liver weight to body weight ratio (n = 10-20, p < 0.05), lower plasma osmolality (n = 10-20, p < 0.001) and lower hematocrit (n = 10-20, p < 0.05) as compared to sham rats. All rats were anesthetized with isoflurane (2-3%), their brains were collected, and slices containing the SON were prepared. Loose-cell patch recordings were made at 31±1o C using standard artificial cerebrospinal fluid. Labeled AVP cells and unlabeled SON cells were tested with focal application of muscimol (100µM), a GABAA receptor agonist. Cells from BDL rats showed impaired GABAA -mediated inhibition in response to muscimol, as compared to those from sham rats. All putative AVP SON neurons from sham rats (4/4) showed decreased activity following muscimol while half of the putative AVP SON neurons (7/14) from BDL rats were excited (p < 0.001). Similar results were observed in experiments were the injections missed the SON. In these experiments, all SON neurons from sham rats were inhibited by muscimol (26/26) while thirty-five percent of SON neurons from BDL rats (16/45) were excited by muscimol (p = 0.001). ClopHensorN based chloride imaging showed that muscimol application was associated with decreased intracellular chloride concentrations in putative AVP cells from BDL rats as compared to sham rats (n = 31-32, p = 0.001). The results show that liver cirrhosis impairs the normal inhibitory response of SON neurons to GABAA receptor activation which could contribute to increased cell activity and dilutional hyponatremia in male rats.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFASEB Journal
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Bile Duct Ligation Changes the Inhibitory Control of Vasopressin Neurons in Male Rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this