Progressive potentiation of peptide release during a neuronal discharge. Academic Article uri icon


  • 1. In response to electrical stimulation, the bag cell neurons of Aplysia generate an afterdischarge that lasts 20-40 min. During this afterdischarge several neuroactive peptides are released. We have now studied the time course of release of two of these peptides, egg-laying hormone (ELH) and acidic peptide (AP). For the collection of released peptides, the artery to the bag cell clusters was perfused. The medium surrounding the clusters (artificial seawater, ASW) was completely exchanged at 5-min intervals before, during, and after stimulation of an afterdischarge. Peptides released into the external medium were analyzed with the use of high-pressure liquid chromatography. 2. Before stimulation, no detectable ELH and AP were found in the external medium. After the onset of an afterdischarge, the amount of ELH and AP released increased progressively until 15-20 min of firing. Toward the conclusion of an afterdischarge, the release of ELH and AP returned to control levels. 3. In contrast to the pattern of release of the peptides, the firing rate of the bag cell neurons is maximal within the first minute of afterdischarge and thereafter declines. 4. Release of the peptides from axonal varicosities occurs within the vascularized connective-tissue sheath that covers the clusters of bag cell neurons. Experiments were therefore carried out to establish whether the observed time course of release is affected by diffusion of the peptides through the vasculature into the external medium and, in particular, to determine whether the maximal rate of release at 15-20 min into the afterdischarge could be accounted for by a delay in transport of peptides from the neurites.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

publication date

  • April 1990