Sniffer cells for the detection of neural Angiotensin II in vitro

George E. Farmer, Anna Amune, Martha E. Bachelor, Phong Duong, Joseph P. Yuan, J. Thomas Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Neuropeptide release in the brain has traditionally been difficult to observe. Existing methods lack temporal and spatial resolution that is consistent with the function and size of neurons. We use cultured “sniffer cells” to improve the temporal and spatial resolution of observing neuropeptide release. Sniffer cells were created by stably transfecting Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells with plasmids encoding the rat angiotensin type 1a receptor and a genetically encoded Ca2+ sensor. Isolated, cultured sniffer cells showed dose-dependent increases in fluorescence in response to exogenously applied angiotensin II and III, but not other common neurotransmitters. Sniffer cells placed on the median preoptic nucleus (a presumptive site of angiotensin release) displayed spontaneous activity and evoked responses to either electrical or optogenetic stimulation of the subfornical organ. Stable sniffer cell lines could be a viable method for detecting neuropeptide release in vitro, while still being able to distinguish differences in neuropeptide concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8820
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019


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