Disrupted neuronal activity rhythms in the suprachiasmatic nuclei of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide-deficient mice.

Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK M139PT.
Journal of Neurophysiology (Impact Factor: 3.04). 04/2007; 97(3):2553-8. DOI: 10.1152/jn.01206.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), acting via the VPAC(2) receptor, is a key signaling pathway in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the master clock controlling daily rhythms in mammals. Most mice lacking functional VPAC(2) receptors are unable to sustain behavioral rhythms and lack detectable SCN electrical rhythms in vitro. Adult mice that do not produce VIP (VIP/PHI(-/-)) exhibit less severe alterations in wheel-running rhythms, but the effects of this deficiency on the amplitude, phasing, or periodicity of their SCN cellular rhythms are unknown. To investigate this, we used suction electrodes to extracellularly record multiple- and single-unit electrical activity in SCN brain slices from mice with varying degrees of VIP deficiency, ranging from wild-type (VIP/PHI(+/+)) to heterozygous (VIP/PHI(+/-)) and VIP/PHI(-/-) animals. We found decreasing proportions of rhythmic cells in SCN slices from VIP/PHI(+/+) ( approximately 91%, n = 23) through VIP/PHI(-/+) ( approximately 71%, n = 28) to VIP/PHI(-/-) mice (62%; n = 37) and a parallel trend toward decreasing amplitude in the remaining rhythmic cells. SCN neurons from VIP/PHI(-/-) mice exhibited a broad range in the period and phasing of electrical rhythms, concordant with the known alterations in their behavioral rhythms. Further, treatment of VIP/PHI(-/-) slices with a VPAC(2) receptor antagonist significantly reduced the proportion of oscillating neurons, suggesting that VPAC(2) receptors still become activated in the SCN of these mice. The results establish that VIP is important for appropriate periodicity and phasing of SCN neuronal rhythms and suggest that residual VPAC(2) receptor signaling promotes rhythmicity in adult VIP/PHI(-/-) mice.

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    ABSTRACT: When dispersed and cultured in a multielectrode dish (MED), suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) neurons express fast oscillations of firing rate (FOFR; fast relative to the circadian cycle), with burst duration ∼10 min, and interburst interval varying from 20 to 60 min in different cells but remaining nevertheless rather regular in individual cells. In many cases, separate neurons in distant parts of the 1 mm recording area of a MED exhibited correlated FOFR. Neither the mechanism of FOFR nor the mechanism of their synchronization among neurons is known. Based on recent data implicating vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) as a key intercellular synchronizing agent, we built a model in which VIP acts as both a feedback regulator to generate FOFR in individual neurons, and a diffusible synchronizing agent to produce coherent electrical output of a neuronal network. In our model, VIP binding to its (VPAC2) receptors acts through Gs G-proteins to activate adenylyl cyclase (AC), increase intracellular cAMP, and open cyclic-nucleotide-gated (CNG) cation channels, thus depolarizing the cell and generating neuronal firing to release VIP. In parallel, slowly developing homologous desensitization and internalization of VPAC2 receptors terminates elevation of cAMP and thereby provides an interpulse silent interval. Through mathematical modeling, we show that this VIP/VPAC2/AC/cAMP/CNG-channel mechanism is sufficient for generating reliable FOFR in single neurons. When our model for FOFR is combined with a published model of synchronization of circadian rhythms based on VIP/VPAC2 and Per gene regulation synchronization of circadian rhythms is significantly accelerated. These results suggest that (a) auto/paracrine regulation by VIP/VPAC2 and intracellular AC/cAMP/CNG-channels are sufficient to provide robust FOFR and synchrony among neurons in a heterogeneous network, and (b) this system may also participate in synchronization of circadian rhythms.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e106152. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0106152 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The female reproductive cycle is gated by the circadian timing system and may be vulnerable to disruptions in the circadian system. Prior work suggests that vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP)-expressing neurons in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) are one pathway by which the circadian clock can influence the estrous cycle, but the impact of the loss of this peptide on reproduction has not been assessed. In the present study, we first examine the impact of the genetic loss of the neuropeptide VIP on the reproductive success of female mice. Significantly, mutant females produce about half the offspring of their wild-type sisters even when mated to the same males. We also find that VIP-deficient females exhibit a disrupted estrous cycle; that is, ovulation occurs less frequently and results in the release of fewer oocytes compared with controls. Circadian rhythms of wheel-running activity are disrupted in the female mutant mice, as is the spontaneous electrical activity of dorsal SCN neurons. On a molecular level, the VIP-deficient SCN tissue exhibits lower amplitude oscillations with altered phase relationships between the SCN and peripheral oscillators as measured by PER2-driven bioluminescence. The simplest explanation of our data is that the loss of VIP results in a weakened SCN oscillator, which reduces the synchronization of the female circadian system. These results clarify one of the mechanisms by which disruption of the circadian system reduces female reproductive success.
    Journal of Biological Rhythms 09/2014; 29(5). DOI:10.1177/0748730414549767 · 3.32 Impact Factor
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