Thyrotropin-releasing hormone induces rhythmic bursting in neurons of the nucleus tractus solitarius

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Science  05 Jul 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4708, pp. 67-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.3925552


The nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) contains neurons that are part of the central neuronal network controlling rhythmic breathing movements in mammals. Nerve terminals within the NTS show immunoreactivity to thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), a neuropeptide that has potent stimulatory effects on respiration. By means of a brainstem slice preparation in vitro, TRH induced rhythmic bursting in neurons in the respiratory division of the NTS. The frequency of bursting was voltage-dependent and could be reset by short depolarizing current pulses. In the presence of tetrodotoxin, TRH produced rhythmic oscillations in membrane potential whose frequency was also voltage-dependent. These observations suggest that TRH modulates the membrane excitability of NTS neurons and allows them to express endogenous bursting activity.