Daily rhythms of spike coding in the rat supraoptic nucleus

G S Bhumbra, S Lombardelli, J A Gonzalez, K S Parsy, R E J Dyball

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Novel measures of coding based on interspike intervals were used to characterise the rhythms of single unit activity in the supraoptic nucleus during the day/night cycle in urethane-anaesthetised rats in vivo. Both continuously firing and phasic cells showed significant (P < 0.001) diurnal rhythms of spike frequency and in the irregularity of firing, as quantified by the log interval entropy (ENT). Comparison of rhythms in log interval ENT showed that the amplitude of the rhythms was greater for the continuously firing cells than for the phasic cells (P = 0.002). Rhythms persisted after hypertonic stimulation or pinealectomy and both treatments reduced the amplitude significantly only for the continuously firing cell group. By contrast, the mesor (i.e. mid-point of the rhythm) was reduced only for the phasic cell group. A similar analysis applied to the activity of cells of the suprachiasmatic nucleus showed that, after pinealectomy, there was a significant rhythm in ENT (P < 0.001) but not firing rate; however, the amplitude of the rhythm in ENT was attenuated (P = 0.047). Diurnal changes in the electrical activity of supraoptic cells are consistent with previously reported circadian changes in magnocellular neuropeptide release. Differences between continuous and phasic cell groups in the effects of osmotic stimulation on rhythmic activity indicate that the two cell types differ in their coding of osmolality and zeitgeber time information. The different effects of pinealectomy on the supraoptic and suprachiasmatic nuclei suggest that removal of endogenous melatonin unmasks a difference in circadian coding between the two nuclei.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-45
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroendocrinology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Supraoptic Nucleus
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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