Fine Structural Correlates of Calcium Dynamics in the Presynaptic Terminal

  • George D. Pappas
  • Virginia Kriho
  • Robert P. Becker
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 21)


Correlative morphological changes brought about by synaptic function have proven to be illusive. We have been interested in the fine structural correlates of synaptic fatigue in the frog sartorius neuromuscular preparation brought about by tetanic stimulation of the sartorius nerve with a suction electrode (Rose, et al., 1978). It has been suggested that the decrement of presynaptic transmitter release may be due to the decrement in the synaptic vesicle population, as the vesicular release of ACh at the neuromuscular junction exceeds the replacement of the vesicles when the presynaptic nerve stimulation is greatly augmented (Heuser and Reese, 1973). Examination with the electron microscope of the same presynaptic nerve terminal from which postsynaptic endplate potentials were recorded does not support the vesicle depletion theory. Extensive studies on identified synapses in the frog sartorius neuromuscular preparation indicated that there was no correlation with the decrease of the end-plate potential following stimulation and the number of vesicles present in the presynaptic ending (Rose, et al., 1978). It has also been reported that the steady decrease in the amount of transmitter being released during tetanic stimulation does not deplete the amount of ACh present in the presynaptic ending (Kriebel, et al., 1976). One can reasonably conclude that if the synaptic vesicle population or the presynaptic stores of ACh are not critically affected, then some other factor such as the obligatory role that calcium ions play in depolarization secretion-coupling may be critically affected and may bring about synaptic fatigue (cf. Augustine et al., 1987).


Schwann Cell Synaptic Vesicle Neuromuscular Junction Transmitter Release Tetanic Stimulation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • George D. Pappas
    • 1
  • Virginia Kriho
    • 1
  • Robert P. Becker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Cell BiologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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