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Neuron. 1992 Nov;9(5):991-9.

Activation and desensitization of glutamate-activated channels mediating fast excitatory synaptic currents in the visual cortex.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Brief glutamate applications to membrane patches, excised from neurons in the rat visual cortex, were used to assess the role of desensitization in determining the AMPA/kainate receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC) time course. A brief (1 ms) application of glutamate (1-10 mM) produced a response that mimicked the time course of miniature EPSCs (mEPSCs). Direct evidence is presented that the rate of onset of desensitization is much slower than the decay rate of the response to a brief application of glutamate, implying that the decay of mEPSCs reflects channel closure into a state readily available for reactivation. Rapid application of glutamate combined with nonstationary variance analysis provided an estimate of the single-channel conductance and open probability, allowing an approximation of the number of available channels at a single synaptic site.

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