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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2004 May;96(5):1681-90. Epub 2004 Mar 19.

5-HT offsets homeostasis of synaptic transmission during short-term facilitation.

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Department of Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0225, USA.


In this study, we approach the topic of vesicle recruitment and recycling by perturbing neurotransmission at the crayfish neuromuscular junction with altered electrical activity and the presence of the neuromodulator serotonin (5-HT). After induction of short-term facilitation (STF) with stimulus pulse trains (40 Hz, 20 pulses), the amount of synaptic transmission can be maintained at a relatively constant level, producing a plateau in the amplitude of the excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) throughout the remaining stimuli within a train of a few hundred milliseconds. With an increase in the frequency of the stimuli within a train (60 Hz, 20 pulses), an altered plateau of larger EPSP amplitudes occurs. This suggests that differential rates of vesicle recruitment can be rapidly reached and maintained. Exposure of nerve terminals to 5-HT further enhances the EPSP amplitudes to yet a higher plateau level. The effect of 5-HT is more pronounced for 40-Hz pulse trains than for 60-Hz trains. This suggests that 5-HT can recruit vesicles into the readily releasable pool (RRP) and that the recruitment is limited at higher stimulation frequencies. The attainment of a larger amplitude in the plateaus of the EPSPs at 60 Hz compared with 40 Hz also suggests that the rapid induction of STF enhances the entry of vesicles into the RRP. By direct quantal counts, mean quantal content increases linearly during STF, and 5-HT offsets the linear release. We propose that 5-HT and electrically induced recruitment of vesicles from a reserve pool to the RRP may share similar recruitment mechanisms.

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