Fast Perfusion Methods for the Study of Ligand-Gated Ion Channels
The elementary information transfer between two neurons is represented by the generation of a synaptic current in the post-synaptic element due to the activation of post-synaptic receptors by a neurotransmitter quantum. The duration and the amplitude of such signals are largely determined by the properties of post-synaptic receptors and the profile of neurotransmitter concentration sensed by post-synaptic receptors. To date, the knowledge about the properties of post-synaptic receptors activated in synaptic conditions has been limited by the difficulty to control and reproduce the synaptic neurotransmitter exposures. In this chapter, it is shown how to build and optimize devices capable to deliver neurotransmitter pulses approaching those occurring at the synapse. In addition, the role of the neurotransmitter concentration profile at the synaptic cleft in shaping post-synaptic currents is emphasized.
Key wordsSynaptic transmission Post-synaptic receptors Synaptic cleft Theta-glass Neurotransmitter release Neurotransmitter concentration
I wish to thank Enrica M. Petrini and Jerzy W. Mozrzymas for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by the Fet Proactive7 grant to Fabio Benfenati (Italian Institute of Technology, Neuroscience and Brain Technology, Italy) and AB.
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