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Keywords:

  • action potential;
  • brain slice;
  • lateral hypothalamus;
  • patch-clamping;
  • rat

Abstract

Stromal cell-derived factor 1α (SDF-1α), a chemoattractant for leucocytes and neurons, and its receptor, CXCR4 are expressed in subsets of neurons of specific brain areas. In rat lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) we show, using immunocytochemistry, that CXCR4 is localized within melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH)-expressing neurons, mainly involved in feeding behaviour regulation. We investigated whether SDF-1α may control MCH neuronal activity. Patch-clamp recordings in rat LHA slices revealed multiple effects of SDF-1α on the membrane potential of MCH neurons, indirect through glutamate/GABA release and direct through GIRK current activation. Moreover, SDF-1α at 0.1–1 nm decreased peak and discharge frequency of action potential evoked by current pulses. These effects were further confirmed in voltage-clamp experiments, SDF-1α depressing both potassium and sodium currents. At 10 nm, however, SDF-1α increased peak and discharge frequency of action potential evoked by current pulses. Using a specific CXCR4 antagonist, we demonstrated that only the depressing effect on AP discharge was mediated through CXCR4 while the opposite effect was indirect. Together, our studies reveal for the first time a direct effect of SDF-1α on voltage-dependent membrane currents of neurons in brain slices and suggest that this chemokine may regulate MCH neuron activity.