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Presynaptic action potential waveform determines (...)

J Physiol. 2011 Mar ;589(Pt 5):1117-31
Presynaptic action potential waveform determines cortical synaptic latency.
Boudkkazi S, Fronzaroli-Molinieres L, Debanne D.

Synaptic latency at cortical synapses is determined by the presynaptic release probability (Pr). Short- and long-term presynaptic plasticity is associated with modulation in synaptic delay. We show here that the duration and amplitude of the presynaptic action potential also determine synaptic latency at neocortical and hippocampal excitatory synapses. Blockade of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels with 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) or dendrotoxin-I (DTx-I) but not tetraethylammonium (TEA) induced a 1-2 ms shift in latency at excitatory synaptic connections formed by pairs of neocortical pyramidal neurons. 4-AP or DTx-I, but not TEA, increased the duration of the action potential recorded in the axon, suggesting that presynaptic spike duration is controlled by axonal Kv1 potassium channels. Spike width-dependent changes in latency have been identified at the mossy-fiber-CA3 cell synapses and contribute to stabilising synaptic timing during repetitive stimulation. The effects of presynaptic spike amplitude on synaptic latency were also examined. Decreasing the amplitude of the presynaptic action potential with 15-30 nM TTX reduced synaptic latency by 0.5 ms. The regulation of synaptic timing by potassium and sodium channel blockers could not be attributed to modulation of axonal conduction. Rather these effects are compatible with modifications of the kinetics of the presynaptic calcium current. We conclude that synaptic latency at cortical neurons is not constant but dynamically regulated by presynaptic action potential waveform.


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