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J Neurosci. 1994 Aug;14(8):4694-704.

Depression of developing neuromuscular synapses induced by repetitive postsynaptic depolarizations.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027.


Effect of postsynaptic activity on the synaptic efficacy was studied in Xenopus nerve-muscle cultures. Repetitive postsynaptic depolarizations induced by injection of current pulses into singly innervated myocytes resulted in significant reduction in the frequency of spontaneous synaptic currents and the amplitude of nerve-evoked synaptic currents at the majority of synapses that showed immature synaptic properties. Repetitive hyperpolarizations and steady depolarizations of similar duration were without effect. The depolarization-induced synaptic depression appeared to result predominantly from a reduced ACh secretion from the presynaptic nerve terminal. Buffering the myocyte cytosolic Ca2+ at a low level with intracellular loading of a Ca2+ buffer, 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetra-acetic acid (BAPTA), significantly reduced the effect of the depolarizations. Thus postsynaptic electrical activity can regulate the synaptic efficacy of the developing neuromuscular synapases and the regulation may be mediated by retrograde transsynaptic interactions.

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