Supraoptic Nucleus: Hypothalamic nucleus overlying the beginning of the OPTIC TRACT.Oxytocin: A nonapeptide hormone released from the neurohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, POSTERIOR). It differs from VASOPRESSIN by two amino acids at residues 3 and 8. Oxytocin acts on SMOOTH MUSCLE CELLS, such as causing UTERINE CONTRACTIONS and MILK EJECTION.Vasopressins: Antidiuretic hormones released by the NEUROHYPOPHYSIS of all vertebrates (structure varies with species) to regulate water balance and OSMOLARITY. In general, vasopressin is a nonapeptide consisting of a six-amino-acid ring with a cysteine 1 to cysteine 6 disulfide bridge or an octapeptide containing a CYSTINE. All mammals have arginine vasopressin except the pig with a lysine at position 8. Vasopressin, a vasoconstrictor, acts on the KIDNEY COLLECTING DUCTS to increase water reabsorption, increase blood volume and blood pressure.Paraventricular Hypothalamic Nucleus: Nucleus in the anterior part of the HYPOTHALAMUS.Hypothalamus, Anterior: The front portion of the HYPOTHALAMUS separated into the preoptic region and the supraoptic region. The preoptic region is made up of the periventricular GRAY MATTER of the rostral portion of the THIRD VENTRICLE and contains the preoptic ventricular nucleus and the medial preoptic nucleus. The supraoptic region contains the PARAVENTRICULAR HYPOTHALAMIC NUCLEUS, the SUPRAOPTIC NUCLEUS, the ANTERIOR HYPOTHALAMIC NUCLEUS, and the SUPRACHIASMATIC NUCLEUS.Pituitary Gland, Posterior: Neural tissue of the pituitary gland, also known as the neurohypophysis. It consists of the distal AXONS of neurons that produce VASOPRESSIN and OXYTOCIN in the SUPRAOPTIC NUCLEUS and the PARAVENTRICULAR NUCLEUS. These axons travel down through the MEDIAN EMINENCE, the hypothalamic infundibulum of the PITUITARY STALK, to the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland.Hypothalamus: Ventral part of the DIENCEPHALON extending from the region of the OPTIC CHIASM to the caudal border of the MAMMILLARY BODIES and forming the inferior and lateral walls of the THIRD VENTRICLE.Milk Ejection: Expulsion of milk from the mammary alveolar lumen, which is surrounded by a layer of milk-secreting EPITHELIAL CELLS and a network of myoepithelial cells. Contraction of the myoepithelial cells is regulated by neuroendocrine signals.Neurons: The basic cellular units of nervous tissue. Each neuron consists of a body, an axon, and dendrites. Their purpose is to receive, conduct, and transmit impulses in the NERVOUS SYSTEM.Neurosecretory Systems: A system of NEURONS that has the specialized function to produce and secrete HORMONES, and that constitutes, in whole or in part, an ENDOCRINE SYSTEM or organ.Arginine Vasopressin: The predominant form of mammalian antidiuretic hormone. It is a nonapeptide containing an ARGININE at residue 8 and two disulfide-linked cysteines at residues of 1 and 6. Arg-vasopressin is used to treat DIABETES INSIPIDUS or to improve vasomotor tone and BLOOD PRESSURE.Cell Nucleus: Within a eukaryotic cell, a membrane-limited body which contains chromosomes and one or more nucleoli (CELL NUCLEOLUS). The nuclear membrane consists of a double unit-type membrane which is perforated by a number of pores; the outermost membrane is continuous with the ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM. A cell may contain more than one nucleus. (From Singleton & Sainsbury, Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)Neurophysins: Carrier proteins for OXYTOCIN and VASOPRESSIN. They are polypeptides of about 10-kDa, synthesized in the HYPOTHALAMUS. Neurophysin I is associated with oxytocin and neurophysin II is associated with vasopressin in their respective precursors and during transportation down the axons to the neurohypophysis (PITUITARY GLAND, POSTERIOR).Rats, Sprague-Dawley: A strain of albino rat used widely for experimental purposes because of its calmness and ease of handling. It was developed by the Sprague-Dawley Animal Company.Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos: Cellular DNA-binding proteins encoded by the c-fos genes (GENES, FOS). They are involved in growth-related transcriptional control. c-fos combines with c-jun (PROTO-ONCOGENE PROTEINS C-JUN) to form a c-fos/c-jun heterodimer (TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR AP-1) that binds to the TRE (TPA-responsive element) in promoters of certain genes.Water-Electrolyte Balance: The balance of fluid in the BODY FLUID COMPARTMENTS; total BODY WATER; BLOOD VOLUME; EXTRACELLULAR SPACE; INTRACELLULAR SPACE, maintained by processes in the body that regulate the intake and excretion of WATER and ELECTROLYTES, particularly SODIUM and POTASSIUM.Dehydration: The condition that results from excessive loss of water from a living organism.Saline Solution, Hypertonic: Hypertonic sodium chloride solution. A solution having an osmotic pressure greater than that of physiologic salt solution (0.9 g NaCl in 100 ml purified water).Osmotic Pressure: The pressure required to prevent the passage of solvent through a semipermeable membrane that separates a pure solvent from a solution of the solvent and solute or that separates different concentrations of a solution. It is proportional to the osmolality of the solution.Rats, Wistar: A strain of albino rat developed at the Wistar Institute that has spread widely at other institutions. This has markedly diluted the original strain.Action Potentials: Abrupt changes in the membrane potential that sweep along the CELL MEMBRANE of excitable cells in response to excitation stimuli.Receptors, Oxytocin: Cell surface proteins that bind oxytocin with high affinity and trigger intracellular changes which influence the behavior of cells. Oxytocin receptors in the uterus and the mammary glands mediate the hormone's stimulation of contraction and milk ejection. The presence of oxytocin and oxytocin receptors in neurons of the brain probably reflects an additional role as a neurotransmitter.Hypertonic Solutions: Solutions that have a greater osmotic pressure than a reference solution such as blood, plasma, or interstitial fluid.Naloxone: A specific opiate antagonist that has no agonist activity. It is a competitive antagonist at mu, delta, and kappa opioid receptors.Electrophysiology: The study of the generation and behavior of electrical charges in living organisms particularly the nervous system and the effects of electricity on living organisms.Diuresis: An increase in the excretion of URINE. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 6th ed)Lactation: The processes of milk secretion by the maternal MAMMARY GLANDS after PARTURITION. The proliferation of the mammary glandular tissue, milk synthesis, and milk expulsion or let down are regulated by the interactions of several hormones including ESTRADIOL; PROGESTERONE; PROLACTIN; and OXYTOCIN.Presynaptic Terminals: The distal terminations of axons which are specialized for the release of neurotransmitters. Also included are varicosities along the course of axons which have similar specializations and also release transmitters. Presynaptic terminals in both the central and peripheral nervous systems are included.Microinjections: The injection of very small amounts of fluid, often with the aid of a microscope and microsyringes.Patch-Clamp Techniques: An electrophysiologic technique for studying cells, cell membranes, and occasionally isolated organelles. All patch-clamp methods rely on a very high-resistance seal between a micropipette and a membrane; the seal is usually attained by gentle suction. The four most common variants include on-cell patch, inside-out patch, outside-out patch, and whole-cell clamp. Patch-clamp methods are commonly used to voltage clamp, that is control the voltage across the membrane and measure current flow, but current-clamp methods, in which the current is controlled and the voltage is measured, are also used.Water Deprivation: The withholding of water in a structured experimental situation.Immunohistochemistry: Histochemical localization of immunoreactive substances using labeled antibodies as reagents.Dynorphins: A class of opioid peptides including dynorphin A, dynorphin B, and smaller fragments of these peptides. Dynorphins prefer kappa-opioid receptors (RECEPTORS, OPIOID, KAPPA) and have been shown to play a role as central nervous system transmitters.Osmosis: Tendency of fluids (e.g., water) to move from the less concentrated to the more concentrated side of a semipermeable membrane.Autonomic Pathways: Nerves and plexuses of the autonomic nervous system. The central nervous system structures which regulate the autonomic nervous system are not included.Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System: A collection of NEURONS, tracts of NERVE FIBERS, endocrine tissue, and blood vessels in the HYPOTHALAMUS and the PITUITARY GLAND. This hypothalamo-hypophyseal portal circulation provides the mechanism for hypothalamic neuroendocrine (HYPOTHALAMIC HORMONES) regulation of pituitary function and the release of various PITUITARY HORMONES into the systemic circulation to maintain HOMEOSTASIS.Rats, Inbred Strains: Genetically identical individuals developed from brother and sister matings which have been carried out for twenty or more generations or by parent x offspring matings carried out with certain restrictions. This also includes animals with a long history of closed colony breeding.Electric Stimulation: Use of electric potential or currents to elicit biological responses.Injections, Intraventricular: Injections into the cerebral ventricles.Narcotic Antagonists: Agents inhibiting the effect of narcotics on the central nervous system.Preoptic Area: Region of hypothalamus between the ANTERIOR COMMISSURE and OPTIC CHIASM.Osmolar Concentration: The concentration of osmotically active particles in solution expressed in terms of osmoles of solute per liter of solution. Osmolality is expressed in terms of osmoles of solute per kilogram of solvent.Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone: A peptide of about 41 amino acids that stimulates the release of ADRENOCORTICOTROPIC HORMONE. CRH is synthesized by neurons in the PARAVENTRICULAR NUCLEUS of the HYPOTHALAMUS. After being released into the pituitary portal circulation, CRH stimulates the release of ACTH from the PITUITARY GLAND. CRH can also be synthesized in other tissues, such as PLACENTA; ADRENAL MEDULLA; and TESTIS.Receptors, Opioid, kappa: A class of opioid receptors recognized by its pharmacological profile. Kappa opioid receptors bind dynorphins with a higher affinity than endorphins which are themselves preferred to enkephalins.Membrane Potentials: The voltage differences across a membrane. For cellular membranes they are computed by subtracting the voltage measured outside the membrane from the voltage measured inside the membrane. They result from differences of inside versus outside concentration of potassium, sodium, chloride, and other ions across cells' or ORGANELLES membranes. For excitable cells, the resting membrane potentials range between -30 and -100 millivolts. Physical, chemical, or electrical stimuli can make a membrane potential more negative (hyperpolarization), or less negative (depolarization).Tetraethylammonium: A potassium-selective ion channel blocker. (From J Gen Phys 1994;104(1):173-90)Microdialysis: A technique for measuring extracellular concentrations of substances in tissues, usually in vivo, by means of a small probe equipped with a semipermeable membrane. Substances may also be introduced into the extracellular space through the membrane.Evoked Potentials: Electrical responses recorded from nerve, muscle, SENSORY RECEPTOR, or area of the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM following stimulation. They range from less than a microvolt to several microvolts. The evoked potential can be auditory (EVOKED POTENTIALS, AUDITORY), somatosensory (EVOKED POTENTIALS, SOMATOSENSORY), visual (EVOKED POTENTIALS, VISUAL), or motor (EVOKED POTENTIALS, MOTOR), or other modalities that have been reported.GABA Antagonists: Drugs that bind to but do not activate GABA RECEPTORS, thereby blocking the actions of endogenous GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID and GABA RECEPTOR AGONISTS.Pregnanolone: A pregnane found in the urine of pregnant women and sows. It has anesthetic, hypnotic, and sedative properties.Synaptic Transmission: The communication from a NEURON to a target (neuron, muscle, or secretory cell) across a SYNAPSE. In chemical synaptic transmission, the presynaptic neuron releases a NEUROTRANSMITTER that diffuses across the synaptic cleft and binds to specific synaptic receptors, activating them. The activated receptors modulate specific ion channels and/or second-messenger systems in the postsynaptic cell. In electrical synaptic transmission, electrical signals are communicated as an ionic current flow across ELECTRICAL SYNAPSES.Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials: Depolarization of membrane potentials at the SYNAPTIC MEMBRANES of target neurons during neurotransmission. Excitatory postsynaptic potentials can singly or in summation reach the trigger threshold for ACTION POTENTIALS.Nucleus Accumbens: Collection of pleomorphic cells in the caudal part of the anterior horn of the LATERAL VENTRICLE, in the region of the OLFACTORY TUBERCLE, lying between the head of the CAUDATE NUCLEUS and the ANTERIOR PERFORATED SUBSTANCE. It is part of the so-called VENTRAL STRIATUM, a composite structure considered part of the BASAL GANGLIA.Tetrodotoxin: An aminoperhydroquinazoline poison found mainly in the liver and ovaries of fishes in the order TETRAODONTIFORMES, which are eaten. The toxin causes paresthesia and paralysis through interference with neuromuscular conduction.Rats, Long-Evans: An outbred strain of rats developed in 1915 by crossing several Wistar Institute white females with a wild gray male. Inbred strains have been derived from this original outbred strain, including Long-Evans cinnamon rats (RATS, INBRED LEC) and Otsuka-Long-Evans-Tokushima Fatty rats (RATS, INBRED OLETF), which are models for Wilson's disease and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, respectively.Drinking: The consumption of liquids.Dendrites: Extensions of the nerve cell body. They are short and branched and receive stimuli from other NEURONS.gamma-Aminobutyric Acid: The most common inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.Brain: The part of CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM that is contained within the skull (CRANIUM). Arising from the NEURAL TUBE, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including PROSENCEPHALON (the forebrain); MESENCEPHALON (the midbrain); and RHOMBENCEPHALON (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of CEREBRUM; CEREBELLUM; and other structures in the BRAIN STEM.Pituitary Gland: A small, unpaired gland situated in the SELLA TURCICA. It is connected to the HYPOTHALAMUS by a short stalk which is called the INFUNDIBULUM.Sodium Chloride: A ubiquitous sodium salt that is commonly used to season food.Synapses: Specialized junctions at which a neuron communicates with a target cell. At classical synapses, a neuron's presynaptic terminal releases a chemical transmitter stored in synaptic vesicles which diffuses across a narrow synaptic cleft and activates receptors on the postsynaptic membrane of the target cell. The target may be a dendrite, cell body, or axon of another neuron, or a specialized region of a muscle or secretory cell. Neurons may also communicate via direct electrical coupling with ELECTRICAL SYNAPSES. Several other non-synaptic chemical or electric signal transmitting processes occur via extracellular mediated interactions.