Dual orexin actions on dorsal raphe and laterodorsal tegmentum neurons: noisy cation current activation and selective enhancement of Ca2+ transients mediated by L-type calcium channels

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The hypocretin/orexins (Hcrt/Orxs) are hypothalamic neuropeptides that regulate stress, addiction, feeding, and arousal behaviors. They depolarize many types of central neurons and can increase [Ca2+]i in some, including those of the dorsal raphe (DR) and laterodorsal tegmental (LDT) nuclei-two structures likely to contribute to the behavioral actions of Hcrt/Orx. In this study, we used simultaneous whole cell and Ca2+-imaging methods in mouse brain slices to compare the Hcrt/Orx-activated current in DR and LDT neurons and to determine whether it contributes to the Ca2+ influx evoked by Hcrt/Orx. We found Hcrt/Orx activates a similar noisy cation current that reversed near 0 mV in both cell types. Contrary to our expectation, this current did not contribute to the somatic Ca2+ influx evoked by Hcrt/Orx. In contrast, Hcrt/Orx enhanced the Ca2+ transients produced by voltage steps (-60 to -30 mV) by approximately 30% even in neurons lacking an inward current. This effect was abolished by nifedipine, augmented by Bay-K and abolished by bisindolylmaleimide I. Thus Hcrt/Orx has two independent actions: activation of noisy cation channels that generate depolarization and activation of a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent enhancement of Ca2+ transients mediated by L-type Ca2+ channels. Immunocytochemistry verified that both these actions occurred in serotonergic and cholinergic neurons, indicating that Hcrt/Orx can function as a neuromodulator in these key neurons of the reticular activating system. Because regulation of Ca2+ transients mediated by L-channels is often linked to the control of transcriptional signaling, our findings imply that Hcrt/Orxs may also function in the regulation of long-term homeostatic or trophic processes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)2265-81
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

ID: 38346479