Synaptic transmission between dissociated adult mammalian neurons and attached synaptic boutons

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Science  30 Sep 1988:
Vol. 241, Issue 4874, pp. 1810-1813
DOI: 10.1126/science.2459774


In most studies of synaptic currents in mammalian central neurons, preparations have been used in which synaptic currents are recorded at some distance from the synapse itself. This procedure introduces problems in interpretation of the kinetics and voltage-dependent properties of the synaptic current. These problems have now been overcome by the development of a preparation in which presynaptic vesicle-containing boutons have been coisolated with the soma of individual neurons, thus providing the opportunity to study synaptic currents under conditions of both adequate voltage control and internal ionic perfusion. Spontaneous synaptic currents mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid and excitatory amino acids were recorded from neurons isolated from a mammalian medial solitary tract nucleus. Calcium- and depolarization-dependent spontaneous currents of several to hundreds of picoamperes occurred with rapid rise times of 0.8 to 3 milliseconds and decays at least ten times as long.