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Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1989 Sep 22;237(1289):489-99.

Oscillation period of MEPP frequency at frog neuromuscular junctions is inversely correlated with release efficacy and independent of acute Ca2+ loading.

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  • 1Jerry Lewis Neuromuscular Research Center, UCLA School of Medicine 90024.


Periodic oscillations in miniature endplate potential (MEPP) frequency have been described at the frog neuromuscular junction. It is assumed that the periodic oscillations in MEPP frequency reflect cytosolic oscillations in intracellular Ca2+ concentration. In the course of a study related to describing the differences between weak and strong neuromuscular junctions by using the post-tetanic potentiation of MEPP frequency, we noted periodic oscillations in MEPP frequency in the first few minutes after a tetanus. The period of this oscillation (i.e. the time interval of one complete oscillation cycle) was inversely related to synaptic release efficacy, as measured by quantal content released per 100 microns of nerve terminal length. Junctions of high release efficacy have an oscillation period of 20 s or less whereas the oscillations in weaker junctions have periods of up to 60 s or longer. This relation is very similar during post-tetanic recovery in either a calcium containing Ringer solution or in a zero calcium-EGTA Ringer solution, indicating that external calcium is not necessary to express the phenomenon. We also found that the oscillations are apparent in resting junctions preceding a tetanus and that they are similar in period and show the same inverse relation to synaptic strength.

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