Two Types of Burst Firing in Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone Neurones

Authors

  • Z.  Chu,

    1. Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
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  • M.  Tomaiuolo,

    1. Department of Biological Science and Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA.
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  • R.  Bertram,

    1. Department of Mathematics and Programs in Neuroscience and Molecular Biophysics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA.
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  • S. M. Moenter

    1. Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
    2. Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
    3. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
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Suzanne M. Moenter, 7725 Medical Sciences II, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5622, USA (e-mail: smoenter@umich.edu).

Abstract

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurones fire spontaneous bursts of action potentials, although little is understood about the underlying mechanisms. In the present study, we report evidence for two types of bursting/oscillation driven by different mechanisms. Properties of these different types are clarified using mathematical modelling and a recently developed active-phase/silent-phase correlation technique. The first type of GnRH neurone (1–2%) exhibits slow (∼0.05 Hz) spontaneous oscillations in membrane potential. Action potential bursts are often observed during oscillation depolarisation, although some oscillations were entirely subthreshold. Oscillations persist after blockade of fast sodium channels with tetrodotoxin (TTX) and blocking receptors for ionotropic fast synaptic transmission, indicating that they are intrinsically generated. In the second type of GnRH neurone, bursts were irregular and TTX caused a stable membrane potential. The two types of bursting cells exhibited distinct active-phase/silent-phase correlation patterns, which is suggestive of distinct mechanisms underlying the rhythms. Further studies of type 1 oscillating cells revealed that the oscillation period was not affected by current or voltage steps, although amplitude was sometimes damped. Oestradiol, an important feedback regulator of GnRH neuronal activity, acutely and markedly altered oscillations, specifically depolarising the oscillation nadir and initiating or increasing firing. Blocking calcium-activated potassium channels, which are rapidly reduced by oestradiol, had a similar effect on oscillations. Kisspeptin, a potent activator of GnRH neurones, translated the oscillation to more depolarised potentials, without altering period or amplitude. These data show that there are at least two distinct types of GnRH neurone bursting patterns with different underlying mechanisms.

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