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Neuron. 1997 Dec;19(6):1309-18.

Synaptic refractory period provides a measure of probability of release in the hippocampus.

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Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Despite extensive research, much controversy remains regarding the locus of expression of long-term potentiation (LTP) in area CA1 of the hippocampus, specifically, whether LTP is accompanied by an increase in the probability of release (p(r)) of synaptic vesicles. We have developed a novel method for assaying p(r), which utilizes the synaptic refractory period--a brief 5-6 ms period following release during which the synapse is incapable of transmission (Stevens and Wang, 1995). We show that this assay is sensitive to a battery of manipulations that affect p(r) but find no change following either NMDA receptor-dependent LTP or long-term depression (LTD).

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