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Brain Res. 1985 Sep 23;343(2):236-45.

Synaptic delay in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat.


Unitary, presynaptic spike potentials were observed in single cell recordings from the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the cat. In 11 cells, spontaneous S potentials (extracellularly recorded excitatory postsynaptic potentials) were preceded at a fixed interval by a small wave (the 'T' potential). In another 14 cells, a T potential, although not detected in single traces, was revealed by averaging 20-100 samples synchronized to the peak of the S potential. Provided the field response was not too large a T potential could also be detected in the response to a stimulus to the optic nerve. The T potential would appear to be the spike potential of the afferent optic axon which is excitatory to the geniculate cell because it precedes the S potential at a very exact interval and also follows the corresponding retinal ganglion cell spike at a very exact interval and because the interval between T potential and S potential is reversibly decreased by cooling with a temperature coefficient characteristic of synapses. T potentials ranged in amplitude from 8 to 134 microV and were all predominantly positive-going suggesting a failure of the nerve impulse to invade fully the terminals of the optic nerve. The time from the positive peak of the T potential to the start of the S potentials was taken as a good measure of the synaptic delay. The T-S interval averaged 0.29 ms (+/- 0.045 ms S.D.).

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