Development of the quantal properties of evoked and spontaneous synaptic currents at a brain synapse

Nat Neurosci. 1998 Dec;1(8):675-82. doi: 10.1038/3677.


In many studies of central synaptic transmission, the quantal properties of miniature synaptic events do not match those derived from synaptic events evoked by action potentials. Here we show that at mossy fiber-granule cell (MF-gc) synapses of mature cerebellum, evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) are multiquantal, and their amplitudes vary in discrete steps, whereas miniature (m)EPSCs are monoquantal or multiquantal with quantal parameters identical to those of the EPSCs. In contrast, at immature MF-gc synapses, EPSCs are multiquantal, but their amplitudes do not vary in discrete steps, whereas most mEPSCs seem to be monoquantal with a broad and skewed amplitude distribution. The results demonstrate that quantal variance decreases during synaptic development. They also directly confirm the quantal hypothesis of neurotransmission at a mature brain synapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*