Dye transfer through gap junctions between neuroendocrine cells of rat hypothalamus

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Science  13 Mar 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4487, pp. 1187-1189
DOI: 10.1126/science.7466393


Most magnocellular neurosecretory cells that terminate in the posterior pituitary secrete either vasopressin, oxytocin, or enkephalin. Intracellular injection of the fluorescent dye Lucifer Yellow into single magnocellular neurons in slices of rat hypothalamus resulted in dye transfer between these cells. Freeze-fracture replicas of these cells occasionally revealed gap junctions, which presumably contain channels that mediate the dye coupling. These two independent techniques strongly suggest that some mammalian neuropeptidergic cells are electrotonically coupled, providing a possible means for recruitment and synchronization of their electrical activity.