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Trends Neurosci. 1996 Jul;19(7):292-7.

Information processing by graded-potential transmission through tonically active synapses.

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Dept of Physiology and Biophysics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Many neurons use graded membrane-potential changes, instead of action potentials, to transmit information. Traditional synaptic models feature discontinuous transmitter release by presynaptic action potentials, but this is not true for synapses between graded-potential neurons. In addition to graded and continuous transmitter release, they have multiple active zones, ribbon formations and L-type Ca2+ channels. These differences are probably linked to the high rate of vesicle fusion required for continuous transmitter release. Early stages of sensory systems provide some of the best characterized graded-potential neurons, and recent work on these systems suggests that modification of synaptic transmission by adaptation is a powerful feature of graded synapses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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