Anatomical and electrophysiological characterization of presumed dopamine-containing neurons within the supramammillary region of the rat

Paul D. Shepard, Gregory A. Mihailoff, Dwight C. German

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A combination of immunocytochemical, electrophysiological and pharmacological techniques were employed to study the properties of neurons within the supramammillary (SUM) complex of the rat. The SUM region contains a small, but dense, population of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive neurons. Following injection of the orthograde neuroanatomical tracer, Phaseolus Vulgaris leucoagglutinin, into the SUM region, heavy termainal labeling was observed in the lateral septal nucleus, diagonal band of Broca and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. The electrophysiological and pharmacological properties of antidromically-activated SUM neurons revealed evidence of two neuronal populations. Both groups of neurons exhibited long duration action potentials (>2 msec) and slow conduction velocities (<0.5 m/sec). However, cells in one group were characterized by slow and erratic firing rates and insensitivity to dopamine (DA) autoreceptor agonists. Cells in the other group typically exhibited no spontaneous activity but could be induced to discharge by iontophoretic application of glutamate. These latter cells were sensitive to DA autoreceptor stimulation. Of the two populations of mammilloseptal SUM neurons, the silent population exhibited several properties similar to those of midbrain DA neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-314
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1988



  • Dopamine
  • Electrophysiology
  • Lateral septal nucleus
  • Phaseolus
  • Supramammillary nucleus
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemistry
  • Vulgaris leucoagglutinin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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