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Trends Neurosci. 2002 Sep;25(9):449-55.

Modulation of synaptic delay during synaptic plasticity.

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  • 1Dept of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Erratum in

  • Trends Neurosci 2002 Oct;25(10):539.


At most synapses, information about the processes underlying transmitter release evoked by a presynaptic action potential has been gathered indirectly, based on characterization of the postsynaptic response. Traditionally, the two electrophysiological parameters used for this indirect investigation are the amplitude and latency of the response. The amplitude measures amount of transmitter released; the latency (synaptic delay) reflects the kinetics of a sequence of events that culminates in release. The latency distribution of quantal events, or the time course of composite evoked responses, can be used to infer the time course of the elevated release probability following a stimulus. Recent studies have demonstrated that synaptic delay is not invariant, but is modifiable during several forms of short-term synaptic plasticity. This suggests that the step of transmitter secretion can be modulated directly. Several models for short-term synaptic plasticity are evaluated in the context of the observed changes in synaptic delay.

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