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J Neurosci. 1997 Jul 15;17(14):5610-21.

Temporal dynamics of graded synaptic transmission in the lobster stomatogastric ganglion.

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  • 1Volen Center and Biology Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254, USA.


Synaptic transmission between neurons in the stomatogastric ganglion of the lobster Panulirus interruptus is a graded function of membrane potential, with a threshold for transmitter release in the range of -50 to -60 mV. We studied the dynamics of graded transmission between the lateral pyloric (LP) neuron and the pyloric dilator (PD) neurons after blocking action potential-mediated transmission with 0.1 microM tetrodotoxin. We compared the graded IPSPs (gIPSPs) from LP to PD neurons evoked by square pulse presynaptic depolarizations with those potentials evoked by realistic presynaptic waveforms of variable frequency, amplitude, and duty cycle. The gIPSP shows frequency-dependent synaptic depression. The recovery from depression is slow, and as a result, the gIPSP is depressed at normal pyloric network frequencies. Changes in the duration of the presynaptic depolarization produce nonintuitive changes in the amplitude and time course of the postsynaptic responses, which are again frequency-dependent. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the measurements of synaptic efficacy that are used to understand neural network function are best made using presynaptic waveforms and patterns of activity that mimic those in the functional network.

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