Presynaptic Receptors and Quantal Models of Synaptic Transmission

  • John Clements


This chapter shows how quantal analysis can be applied to the study of presynaptic receptor function. Quantal analysis can be used to determine whether a change in average synaptic response is due to a pre- or postsynaptic change, and can answer some questions about the mechanism underlying the change. The chapter provides a general introduction to quantal models of synaptic transmission and to various quantal analysis techniques. For additional detail, refer to the review articles describing the theory, application, and limitations of quantal analysis (McLach-lan, 1978; Redman, 1990; Korn and Faber, 1991).


Amplitude Distribution Quantal Analysis Release Probability Quantal Content Presynaptic Receptor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barton SB, Cohen IS (1977): Are transmitter statistics meaningful. Nature 268:267–268PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bekkers JM, Stevens CF (1990): Presynaptic mechanism for long-term potentiation in the hippocampus. Nature 346:724–729PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bekkers JM, Richerson GB, Stevens CF (1990): Origin of variability in quantal size in cultured hippocampal neurons and hippocampal slices. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 87:5359–5362PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. del Castillo J, Katz B (1954) Quantal components of the end plate potential. J Physiol 124:560–573Google Scholar
  5. Clements JD (1990): A statistical test for demonstrating a presynaptic site of action for a modulator of synaptic amplitude. J Neurosci Meth 31:75–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clements JD (1991): Quantal synaptic transmission? Nature 353:396PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dunwiddie TV, Haas HL (1985): Adenosine increases synaptic facilitation in the in vitro rat hippocampus: evidence for a presynaptic site of action. J Physiol 369:365–377PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Edwards FR, Redman SJ, Walmsley B (1976): Statistical fluctuations in charge transfer at Ia synapses on spinal motoneurones. J Physiol 259:665–688PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Forsythe ID, Clements JD (1990): Presynaptic glutamate receptors depress excitatory monosynaptic transmission between mouse hippocampal neurones. J Physiol 429:1–16PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Harris EW, Cotman CW (1985): Effects of synaptic antagonists on perforant path paired-pulse plasticity: differentiation of pre- and postsynaptic antagonism. Brain Res 334:348–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Korn H, Mallet A, Triller A, Faber DS (1982): Transmission at a central inhibitory synapse. Quantal description of release with a physical correlate for binomial n. J Neurophysiol 48:679–707PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Korn H, Burnod Y, Faber DS (1987): Spontaneous quantal currents in a central neurone match predictions from binomial analysis of evoked responses. Proc Natl Acad Sci 84:5981–5985PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Korn H, Fassnacht C, Faber DS (1991): Is maintenance of LTP presynaptic? Nature 350:282PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Korn H, Faber DS (1991): Quantal analysis and synaptic efficacy in the CNS. Trends Neurosci 14:439–445PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kullmann DM, Nicoli RA (1992): Long-term potentiation is associated with increases in quantal content and quantal amplitude. Nature 357:240–244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kuno M (1964): Mechanisms of facilitation and depression of the excitatory synaptic potential in spinal motoneurones. J Physiol 175:100–112PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Malgaroli A, Tsien RW (1992): Glutamate-induced long-term potentiation of the frequency of miniature synaptic currents in cultured hippocampal neurons. Nature 357:134–139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Malinow R, Tsien RW (1990): Presynaptic enhancement shown by long-term potentiation in hippocampal slices. Nature 346:177–180PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Manabe T, Renner P, Nicoli RA (1992): Postsynaptic contribution to long-term potentiation revealed by the analysis of miniature synaptic currents. Nature 355:50–55PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. McLachlan EM (1978): The statistics of transmitter release at chemical synapses. In: International Review of Physiology, Neurophysiology III, Vol. 77. 49:117Google Scholar
  21. Redman SJ (1990): Quantal analysis of synaptic potentials in neurons of the central nervous system. Physiol Rev 70:165–198PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Redman SJ, Walmsley B (1983): Amplitude fluctuation in synaptic potentials evoked in cat spinal mononeurones at identified group la synapses. J Physiol 334:135–145Google Scholar
  23. Silinsky EM (1984): On the mechanism by which adenosine receptor activation inhibits the release of acetylcholine from motor nerve endings. J Physiol 346:243–256PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Trussell LO, Fischbach GD (1989): Glutamate receptor desensitization and its role in synaptic transmission. Neurone 3:209–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Walmsley B, Ewards FR, Tracey DJ (1988): Non-uniform release probabilities underlie quantal synaptic transmission at a mammalian excitatory central synapse. J Neurophysiol 60:889–908PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Yamamoto C, Higashima M, Sawada S, Kamiya H (1991): Quantal components of the synaptic potential induced in hippocampal neurones by activation of granule cells, and the effect of 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid. Hippocampus 1:93–106PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Clements

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations