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Vision Res. 1994 Sep;34(18):2357-62.

Miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents in bipolar cells of the tiger salamander retina.


The synapse between photoreceptor and bipolar cell is important for at least three reasons: (1) it is the first synapse in the visual pathway; (2) it is the best-known tonic chemical synapse; and (3) it has perhaps the most complex and highly organized synaptic morphology in the entire brain. Yet little is known about how neurotransmitter is released from this synapse. We present in this report evidence which suggests that the release of photoreceptor neurotransmitter, presumably glutamate, is probably mediated by clusters of synaptic vesicles which give rise to discrete miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (MEPSCs) in bipolar cells. The MEPSCs are Ca(2+)-, osmotic- and CNQX-sensitive, and they share the same reversal potential (near -3 mV) as the glutamate-induced postsynaptic current. The frequency of MEPSCs increases upon presynaptic depolarization, and the mean peak conductance is about 54 pS. MEPSCs exhibit wide variations of amplitudes and durations, probably resulting from random variations of number of synaptic vesicles and the degree of synchronization in individual release clusters.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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