Marco Capogna

Short-term synaptic plasticity, simulation of nerve terminal dynamics, and the effects of protein kinase C activation in rat hippocampus

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  • Darrin H Brager, Department of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 655 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. dbrag001@umaryland.edu
  • ,
  • Marco Capogna
  • Scott M Thompson

Phorbol esters are hypothesised to produce a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent increase in the probability of transmitter release via two mechanisms: facilitation of vesicle fusion or increases in synaptic vesicle number and replenishment. We used a combination of electrophysiology and computer simulation to distinguish these possibilities. We constructed a stochastic model of the presynaptic contacts between a pair of hippocampal pyramidal cells that used biologically realistic processes and was constrained by electrophysiological data. The model reproduced faithfully several forms of short-term synaptic plasticity, including short-term synaptic depression (STD), and allowed us to manipulate several experimentally inaccessible processes. Simulation of an increase in the size of the readily releasable vesicle pool and the time of vesicle replenishment decreased STD, whereas simulation of a facilitation of vesicle fusion downstream of Ca(2+) influx enhanced STD. Because activation of protein kinase C with phorbol ester enhanced STD of EPSCs in rat hippocampal slice cultures, we conclude that an increase in the sensitivity of the release process for Ca(2+) underlies the potentiation of neurotransmitter release by PKC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Volume541
IssuePt 2
Pages (from-to)545-59
Number of pages15
ISSN0022-3751
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2002

    Research areas

  • Algorithms, Animals, Electric Stimulation, Enzyme Activation, Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials/drug effects, Exocytosis/drug effects, Hippocampus/physiology, Models, Neurological, Nerve Endings/physiology, Neuronal Plasticity/drug effects, Organ Culture Techniques, Phorbol Esters/pharmacology, Protein Kinase C/physiology, Rats, Synapses/physiology

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