The supraoptic-hypophyseal tract is a primary system for the synthesis and release of vasopressin. Angiotensin II (AII) has been shown to release vasopressin when injected into the cerebral ventricles (IVT). However, intravenous (IV) AII injections have not produced consistent results. The present studies were conducted to examine the effects of AII delivered by either route on the unit activity of supraoptic nucleus (SON) magnocellular neurons. Rats were prepared with intracranial cannulas to insure delivery of drugs to the left lateral ventricle and with polyethylene catheters in the left jugular vein, femoral vein, and femoral artery for systemic injections and arterial pressure recordings. A ventral approach permitted recording from the SON without violating the ventricular-SON partition. Magnocellular neurons were electrophysiologically identified. In the majority of identified cells, IVT AII increased activity. In others pressor doses of AII IV inhibited firing while blood pressure was elevated. After sino-aortic denervation, AII IV excited SON neurons. Based on latency, and the fact that lesioning the anteroventral third ventricle blocked the action of AII IVT, the results indicate that AII IVT acts on a periventricular site to influence SON magnocellular neurons. Furthermore, systemic AII may have two effects on SON neurons: a central excitatory action, and an inhibition due to a baroreceptor reflex.
- Magnocellular neurons
- Supraoptic nucleus