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Brain Res. 1997 Oct 17;771(2):259-70.

Neuromodulation of activity-dependent synaptic enhancement at crayfish neuromuscular junction.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada.


Action potential-evoked transmitter release is enhanced for many seconds after moderate-frequency stimulation (e.g. 15 Hz for 30 s) at the excitor motorneuron synapse of the crayfish dactyl opener muscle. Beginning about 1.5 s after a train, activity-dependent synaptic enhancement (ADSE) is dominated by a process termed augmentation (G.D. Bittner, D.A. Baxter, Synaptic plasticity at crayfish neuromuscular junctions: facilitation and augmentation, Synapse 7 (1991) 235-243'[4]; K.L. Magleby, Short-term changes in synaptic efficacy, in: G.M. Edelman, L.E. Gall, C.W. Maxwell (Eds.), Synaptic Function, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1987, pp. 21-56; K.L. Magleby; J.E. Zengel, Augmentation: a process that acts to increase transmitter release at the frog neuromuscular junction, J. Physiol. (Lond.) 257 (1976) 449-470) which decays approximately exponentially with a time constant of about 10 s at 16 degrees C, reflecting the removal of Ca2+ which accumulates during the train in presynaptic terminals (K.R. Delaney, D.W. Tank, R.S. Zucker, Serotonin-mediated enhancement of transmission at crayfish neuromuscular junction is independent of changes in calcium, J. Neurosci. 11 (1991) 2631-2643). Serotonin (5-HT, 1 microM) increases evoked and spontaneous transmitter release several-fold (D. Dixon, H.L. Atwood, Crayfish motor nerve terminal's response to serotonin examined by intracellular microelectrode, J. Neurobiol. 16 (1985) 409-424; J. Dudel, Modulation of quantal synaptic release by serotonin and forskolin in crayfish motor nerve terminals, in: Modulation of Synaptic Transmission and Plasticity in Nervous Systems, G. Hertting, H.-C. Spatz (Eds.), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1988; S. Glusman, E.A. Kravitz. The action of serotonin on excitatory nerve terminals in lobster nerve-muscle preparations, J. Physiol. (Lond.) 325 (1982) 223-241). We found that ADSE persists about 2-3 times longer after moderate-frequency presynaptic stimulation in the presence of 5-HT. This slowing of the decay of ADSE by 5-HT was not accompanied by significant changes in the initial amplitude of activity-dependent components of enhancement 1.5 s after the train. Measurements of presynaptic [Ca2+] indicated that the time course of Ca2+ removal from the presynaptic terminals after trains was not altered by 5-HT. Changes in presynaptic action potential shape, resting membrane potential or postsynaptic impedance after trains cannot account for slower recovery of ADSE. Axonal injection of EDTA slows the removal of residual Ca2+ and the decay of synaptic augmentation after trains of action potentials (K.R. Delaney, D.W. Tank, A quantitative measure of the dependence of short-term synaptic enhancement on presynaptic residual calcium, J. Neurosci. 14 (1994) 5885-5902), but has little or no effect on the 5-HT-induced persistence of ADSE. This also suggests that the time course of ADSE in the presence of 5-HT is not determined primarily by residual Ca2+ removal kinetics. The slowing of ADSE recovery after trains by 5-HT reverses with washing in 5-HT-free saline along with the 5-HT-mediated enhancement of release.

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