Electrophysiological actions of VIP in rat somatosensory cortex

Francis M. Sessler, Steve M. Grady, Barry D. Waterhouse, Hylan C. Moises

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Electrophysiological and biochemical studies suggest that VIP may exert a facilitating action in the neocortical local circuitry. In the present study, we examined the actions of VIP and VIP + norepinephrine (NE) on somatosensory cortical neuron responses to direct application of the putative transmitters acetylcholine (ACh) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Spontaneous and transmitter-induced discharges of cortical neurons from halothane-anesthetized rats were monitored before, during and after VIP, NE and VIP + NE iontophoresis. In 57 VIP-sensitive cells tested, VIP application (5-70 nA) increased (n = 18), decreased (n = 36) or had biphasic actions (n = 3) on background firing rate. In a group of 20 neurons tested for NE + VIP, the combined effect of both peptide and bioamine was predominantly (70%) inhibitory. On the other hand, inhibitory and excitatory responses of cortical neurons to GABA (11 of 15 cases) and ACh (10 of 18 cases), respectively, were enhanced during VIP iontophoresis. Concomitant application of VIP and NE produced additive (n = 2) or more than additive (n = 3) enhancing effects on GABA inhibition. NE administration reversed or enhanced further VIP modulatory actions on ACh-induced excitation. These findings provide electrophysiological evidence that NE and VIP afferents may exert convergent influences on cortical neuronal responses to afferent synaptic inputs such that modulatory actions are anatomically focused within the cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-721
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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