Journal of the autonomic nervous system

Quantal secretion from visualized boutons on rat pelvic ganglion neurones.

PMID 8847441


Synaptic transmission from single preganglionic hypogastric nerves innervating monopolar pelvic ganglion neurones has been studied with intracellular electrodes to record transmission from all the boutons and with extracellular electrodes placed over boutons visualized with DiOC2(5) in order to record transmission from selected boutons. Intracellular electrodes revealed spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) with amplitude histograms that show increasing numbers of large EPSPs as the external calcium ([Ca2+]o) was increased from 0.15 to 1.0 mM. These histograms were in general well fitted by a Poisson mixture of gamma distributions. Extracellular electrodes placed over visualized boutons revealed evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials (extracellular EPSPs) with amplitude histograms that were best described by single gamma distributions in most cases in low [Ca2+]o (less than 0.5 mM). The standard deviation of these gammas was not much larger than that of the electrical noise. In a minority of extracellular recordings the amplitude histogram of evoked extracellular EPSPs was best described by a gamma distribution in which the standard deviation was much greater than that of the noise. Confocal microscopy of boutons orthogradely labelled with dextran-rhodamine showed that about 30% of these formed closely apposing pairs on the surface of the neurones. These observations are discussed in terms of the hypothesis that multiquantal release at boutons occurs as a consequence of the coupled secretion from closely apposed boutons.

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3,3′-Diethyloxacarbocyanine iodide, 98%