Thyroid : Official Journal Of The American Thyroid Association
Glycine is a classical neurotransmitter that has role in both inhibitory and excitatory synapses. To understand whether glycinergic inputs are involved in the regulation of the hypophysiotropic thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) neurons, the central controllers of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, the glycinergic innervation of the TRH neurons was studied in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Double-labeling immunocytochemistry and patch clamp electrophysiology was used to determine the role of the glycinergic neurons in the regulation of TRH neurons in the PVN. Anterograde- and retrograde tracing methods were used to determine the sources of the glycinergic input of TRH neurons. Glycine transporter 2 (GLYT2), a marker of glycinergic neurons, containing axons was found to establish symmetric type of synapses on TRH neurons in the PVN. Furthermore, glycine receptor-immunoreactivity was observed in these TRH neurons. The raphe magnus (RMg) and the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (VLPAG) were found to be the exclusive sources of the glycinergic innervation of the TRH neurons within the PVN. Patch-clamp electrophysiology using sections of TRH-IRES-tdTomato mice showed that glycine hyperpolarized the TRH neurons and completely blocked the firing of these neurons. Glycine also markedly hyperpolarized the TRH neurons in the presence of tetrodotoxin demonstrating the direct effect of glycine. In more than 60% of the TRH neurons, spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSC) were observed, even after the pharmacological inhibition of glutamatergic and GABAergic neuronal transmission. The glycine antagonist, strychnine, almost completely abolished these sIPSCs, demonstrating the inhibitory nature of the glycinergic input of TRH neurons. These data demonstrate that TRH neurons in the PVN receive glycinergic inputs from the RMg and the VLPAG. The symmetric type of synaptic connection and the results of the electrophysiological experiments demonstrate the inhibitory nature of these inputs.