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Modelling the In vivo Spike Activity of Phasically-Firing Vasopressin Cells


G. Leng, Centre for Integrative Physiology, Hugh Robson Building, George Square, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9XD UK (e-mail:


A minimalist model of magnocellular vasopressin neurones was developed to examine the hypothesis that their phasic behaviour is the product of intrinsic voltage- and activity-dependent intracellular mechanisms that create a bistable dynamical system. The model can closely match a range of phasic behaviours recorded in vasopressin cells in vivo, as well as reproduce the three archetypal behaviours of vasopressin cells (continuous firing, sparse sporadic firing and phasic firing) by varying one of the fourteen model parameters. In addition, the mean and standard deviation of burst and silence periods can be matched by varying a further two parameters. In the model, the long-term behaviour (phasic characteristics) of cells is largely independent of the short-term behaviour (interspike intervals).