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J Physiol. 1976 Nov;262(3):553-81.

Spontaneous subminature end-plate potentials in mouse diaphragm muscle: evidence for synchronous release.


1. Miniature end-plate potentials (min.e.p.p.s) were recorded from small muscle cells of mouse diaphragms. Min.e.p.p. amplitude histograms showed successive peaks which were integral multiples of the smallest peak. The smallest potentials (submin.e.p.p.s) averaged 0-3-0-6mV and the mean of the larger min.e.p.p.s averaged 3-7 mV, depending on the muscle cell diameter. There was a positive correlation between time-to-peak and min.e.p.p. amplitude. Time-to-peak of the submin.e.p.p.s fell slightly below the regression line through the larger min.e.p.p.s. 2. Sometimes min.e.p.p. amplitude distributions changed spontaneously such that the mean of the major mode min.e.p.p.s decreased twofold during which time the mean of the submin.e.p.p.s did not change. Spontaneous decreases were most pronounced during low frequencies of release (10/min) achieved at 32 degrees C. 3. Small changes in temperature (2 degrees C steps in the range 32-40 degrees C) greatly altered the number of peaks of min.e.p.p. amplitude histograms without noticeably changing the position of the submin.e.p.p. peak. At 32 degrees C submin.e.p.p.s composed 5-20% of the histograms and the amplitude of the major mode peak was twelve to fifteen-times that of the submin.e.p.p.s. Over-all bell-shaped distributions were obtained at 37 degrees C which showed up to eight peaks with the major peak at the fourth to sixth peak. Temperatures slightly above 37 degrees C gave a flat distribution with the mean amplitude at the third peak. Min.e.p.p. amplitude histograms were initially skewed (mostly small min.e.p.p.s) after a 40 degrees C heat challenge. 4. Two to eight-times the normal concentration of Ca2+ in the saline reversibly increased the min.e.p.p. frequency and also decreased the mean of the major mode min.e.p.p.s (two to nine-times) without noticeably changing the mean of the submin.e.p.p.s. 5. Botulinum toxin A, 10(5) X intraperitoneal median lethal dose (10(5)I.P.LD50)/ml., almost abolished min.e.p.p.s in 30-90 min. The relative proportion of submin.e.p.p.s increased and the mean of the major mode min.e.p.p.s usually did not change during the initial decrease in frequency. Major mode min.e.p.p.s essentially ceased after 200-1000 were generated and remaining min.e.p.p.s of some cells showed skewed distributions with three small peaks that were integral multiples of the submin.e.p.p. peak. Smaller min.e.p.p.s were more resistant to block than the larger min.e.p.p.s and, although frequencies were low, small min.e.p.p.s were recorded after 4 hr of botulinum toxin incubation. 6. Colchicine (5 X 10(-4)M) within minutes reduced the major mode min.e.p.p.s by half (mean of major peak reduced to sixth or seventh peak). Additional colchicine (10(-3)M reduced the major mode min.e.p.p. amplitude to a fifth of that of control (mean of major mode min.e.p.p.s at the third peak) with no change in position of the submin.e.p.p. peak. Min.e.p.p. amplitudes slowly recovered to half control values after washing. 7...

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