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J Neurosci. 2006 Jan 4;26(1):210-6.

Multivesicular release at Schaffer collateral-CA1 hippocampal synapses.

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Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.


Whether an individual synapse releases single or multiple vesicles of transmitter per action potential is contentious and probably depends on the type of synapse. One possibility is that multivesicular release (MVR) is determined by the instantaneous release probability (Pr) and therefore can be controlled by activity-dependent changes in Pr. We investigated transmitter release across a range of Pr at synapses between Schaffer collaterals (SCs) and CA1 pyramidal cells in acute hippocampal slices using patch-clamp recordings. The size of the synaptic glutamate transient was estimated by the degree of inhibition of AMPA receptor EPSCs with the rapidly equilibrating antagonist gamma-D-glutamylglycine. The glutamate transient sensed by AMPA receptors depended on Pr but not spillover, indicating that multiple vesicles are essentially simultaneously released from the same presynaptic active zone. Consistent with an enhanced glutamate transient, increasing Pr prolonged NMDA receptor EPSCs when glutamate transporters were inhibited. We suggest that MVR occurs at SC-CA1 synapses when Pr is elevated by facilitation and that MVR may be a phenomenon common to many synapses throughout the CNS.

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