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J Physiol. 1978 May;278:501-11.

The role of calcium ions in tetanic and post-tetanic increase of miniature end-plate potential frequency.


1. The role of Ca ions in transmitter release changes, during and after high frequency stimulation of the motor nerve (10--100 Hz), was examined at the frog neuromuscular junction. 2. The stimulation-induced changes in miniature end-plate potential frequency (f) resembled the changes in end-plate potential amplitude recently described by Magleby and Zengel (1975, 1976). 3. The effects of tetanic stimulation on f under inward electrochemical gradient for Ca ions were compared with those under reversed gradient and four differences were found: (a) The increase in f during the tetanus under reversed Ca gradient conditions is much smaller than with an inward Ca gradient. (b) The increase in f under reversed Ca gradient is preceded by a small decrease in f, whereas with an inward Ca gradient an immediate increase in f is observed. (c) After the termination of the tetanus with a reversed Ca gradient, there is a further increase in f, compared to a decrease with an inward Ca gradient. (d) The augmentation phase of post-tetanic potentiation was practically abolished. 4. The experimental results are explained by assuming that high frequency nerve stimulation causes an increase in transmitter release by at least two distinct processes: influx of Ca ions through the presynaptic membrane and release of Ca ions from intracellular stores. It is suggested that Na ions couple nerve activity to intracellular release of Ca.

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