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Neuropharmacology. 2003 Sep;45(4):450-60.

Postsynaptic silent synapses: evidence and mechanisms.

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MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity, Department of Anatomy, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.


In this review I discuss the evidence that some glutamatergic synapses exist that lack surface-expressed postsynaptic AMPA receptors (AMPARs) but contain NMDA receptors opposed to a functional release site. I have summarised the electrophysiological, anatomical and cell biological evidence for such postsynaptically silent synapses, and data that support the idea of rapid AMPAR insertion at silent synapses during long-term potentiation (LTP). I also discuss recent findings suggesting that developmental and activity-dependent alteration in the postsynaptic glutamate receptor composition is a general principle that occurs for other receptor subtypes. This review is not intended to provide a full discussion of possible presynaptic mechanisms for silent synapses; these are covered in the accompanying recent article [Voronin and Cherubini (this issue)].

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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