Activity-Dependent Regulation of the Binomial Parameters p and n at the Mouse Neuromuscular Junction In Vivo

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Block of neurotransmission at the mammalian neuromuscular junction triggers an increase in the number of vesicles released (quantal content). The increase occurs whether nerve and muscle activity are both blocked by placement of a tetrodotoxin (TTX) containing cuff on the nerve or whether muscle activity is selectively blocked by injection of α-bungarotoxin (BTX). We used ANOVA to examine whether the mechanism underlying the increase in quantal content differed between the two types of activity blockade. We found that TTX-induced blockade increased the probability of release (p), whereas BTX-induced blockade increased the number of releasable vesicles (n). The lack of increase in p when postsynaptic activity was blocked with BTX suggests that block of presynaptic activity triggers the increase. To determine whether n is regulated by mismatch of pre- and postsynaptic activity introduced by BTX injection we combined BTX and TTX and still found an increase in n. We conclude that block of acetylcholine binding to acetylcholine receptors during spontaneous release triggers the increase in n.



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