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Mol Neurobiol. 2009 Dec;40(3):289-306. doi: 10.1007/s12035-009-8087-7. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Determining the neurotransmitter concentration profile at active synapses.

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  • 1Synaptic Physiology Section, Porter Neuroscience Research Center, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-3701, USA.


Establishing the temporal and concentration profiles of neurotransmitters during synaptic release is an essential step towards understanding the basic properties of inter-neuronal communication in the central nervous system. A variety of ingenious attempts has been made to gain insights into this process, but the general inaccessibility of central synapses, intrinsic limitations of the techniques used, and natural variety of different synaptic environments have hindered a comprehensive description of this fundamental phenomenon. Here, we describe a number of experimental and theoretical findings that has been instrumental for advancing our knowledge of various features of neurotransmitter release, as well as newly developed tools that could overcome some limits of traditional pharmacological approaches and bring new impetus to the description of the complex mechanisms of synaptic transmission.

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