Effect of Ca2+ diffusion on the time course of neurotransmitter release

Biophys J. 1989 May;55(5):859-74. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(89)82885-1.


The three-dimensional (3D) diffusion model of Fogelson, A. L., and R. S. Zucker (1985. Biophys. J. 48: 1003-1017) has been employed as the basis of a refined version of the "Ca theory" for neurotransmitter release. As such, it has been studied here as to its ability to predict the time course of release under various conditions. In particular, conditions were chosen in which the temporal variations in intracellular Ca2+ concentration, the sole factor controlling the release according to the Ca theory, were modified and tested experimentally. The predictions of this model were compared with the experimental results. It is shown that the 3D diffusion model, similarly to earlier simpler versions of the Ca theory, predicts that the time course of release is highly sensitive to both the level of depolarization and the level of the resting concentration of intracellular Ca2+ Moreover, the 3D diffusion model predicts that the time course of release is insensitive to changes in temperature. In contrast, the experimental results show that the time course of release is invariant to the level of depolarization and to the resting level in intracellular Ca2+, but highly sensitive to variations in temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Diffusion
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nephropidae
  • Neuromuscular Junction / drug effects
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Synapses / physiology


  • Calcium Channels
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Calcium