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J Am Chem Soc. 2018 Jun 27;140(25):7764-7768. doi: 10.1021/jacs.8b01989. Epub 2018 Jun 15.

Single Synaptic Observation of Cholinergic Neurotransmission on Living Neurons: Concentration and Dynamics.

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Department of Chemistry , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , 600 South Matthews Avenue , Urbana , Illinois 61801 , United States.


Acetylcholine, the first neurotransmitter identified more than a century ago, plays critical roles in human activities and health; however, its synaptic concentration dynamics have remained unknown. Here, we demonstrate the in situ simultaneous measurements of synaptic cholinergic transmitter concentration and release dynamics. We used nanoscale electroanalytical methods: nanoITIES electrode of 15 nm in radius and nanoresolved scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM). Time-resolved in situ measurements unveiled information on synaptic acetylcholine concentration and release dynamics of living Aplysia neurons. The measuring technique enabled the quantitative sensing of acetylcholine with negligible interference of other ionic and redox-active species. We measured cholinergic transmitter concentrations very close to the synapse, with values as high as 2.4 mM. We observed diverse synaptic transmitter concentration dynamics consisting of singlet, doublet and multiplet events with a signal-to-noise ratio of 6 to 130. The unprecedented details about synaptic neurotransmission unveiled are instrumental for understanding brain communication and diseases in a way distinctive from extra-synaptic studies.

[Available on 2019-06-27]

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