Synaptic responses to mechanical stimulation in calyceal and bouton type vestibular afferents studied in an isolated preparation of semicircular canal ampullae of chicken.
ABSTRACT Relationships between the response patterns of semicircular canal afferents to mechanical stimulation and the morphologies of their peripheral endings were investigated in an isolated preparation of the anterior semicircular canal ampulla of chicken, using a combination of electrical recording with intracellular injections of Lucifer Yellow CH. The hair bundle mechanical stimulus was applied in a diffuse manner by a glass rod vibrating in the nearby bathing medium. Two types of spike discharge patterns and postsynaptic potentials were recorded. One type was found exclusively in the bouton type afferent and demonstrated a phasic increase of firing frequency and transient depolarizing postsynaptic potentials at the beginning of mechanical stimulation. These synaptic potentials were also observed spontaneously and their amplitudes were increased by membrane hyperpolarization. The other type was found exclusively in afferents with calyceal endings and showed a tonic increase of spiking frequency and depolarizing DC postsynaptic potentials with superimposing AC responses at the frequency of the mechanical stimulation. Amplitudes of postsynaptic potentials were increased by hyperpolarization. Hair cells generated depolarizing DC transduction potentials superimposed with AC potentials at frequency of the mechanical stimulation. The spontaneous spike discharging patterns of afferent nerve fibres were classified either as a regular type (CV less than 0.10) or as an irregular type (CV greater than 0.25) on the basis of coefficient of variation (CV) of interspike intervals. The spontaneous firing rate of regular units was higher than that of irregular units. Several membrane characteristics are different between these two types of afferent fibers; irregular units had short membrane time constants and fast spikes associated with clear spike-afterhyperpolarization. These features fit with the fact that irregular units tend to have phasic responses to mechanical stimulation while regular units typically have tonic responses. Irregular units had bouton endings with an average axonal diameter thicker than the regular units which had calix endings.
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ABSTRACT: In the vestibular periphery a unique postsynaptic terminal, the calyx, completely covers the basolateral walls of type I hair cells and receives input from multiple ribbon synapses. To date, the functional role of this specialized synapse remains elusive. There is limited data supporting glutamatergic transmission, K(+) or H(+) accumulation in the synaptic cleft as mechanisms of transmission. Here the role of glutamatergic transmission at the calyx synapse is investigated. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from calyx endings were performed in an in vitro whole-tissue preparation of the rat vestibular crista, the sensory organ of the semicircular canals that sense head rotation. AMPA-mediated EPSCs showed an unusually wide range of decay time constants, from <5 to >500 ms. Decay time constants of EPSCs increased (or decreased) in the presence of a glutamate transporter blocker (or a competitive glutamate receptor blocker), suggesting a role for glutamate accumulation and spillover in synaptic transmission. Glutamate accumulation caused slow depolarizations of the postsynaptic membrane potentials, and thereby substantially increased calyx firing rates. Finally, antibody labelings showed that a high percentage of presynaptic ribbon release sites and postsynaptic glutamate receptors were not juxtaposed, favoring a role for spillover. These findings suggest a prominent role for glutamate spillover in integration of inputs and synaptic transmission in the vestibular periphery. We propose that similar to other brain areas, such as the cerebellum and hippocampus, glutamate spillover may play a role in gain control of calyx afferents and contribute to their high-pass properties.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 10/2014; 34(44):14536-50. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0369-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
Tribology and Interface Engineering Series 01/2002; 40:467-474. DOI:10.1016/S0167-8922(02)80051-7
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ABSTRACT: In the vertebrate retina, cones project to the horizontal cells (HCs) and bipolar cells (BCs). The communication between cones and HCs uses both chemical and ephaptic mechanisms. Cones release glutamate in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner, while HCs feed back to cones via an ephaptic mechanism. Hyperpolarization of HCs leads to an increased current through connexin hemichannels located on the tips of HC dendrites invaginating the cone synaptic terminals. Due to the high resistance of the extracellular synaptic space, this current makes the synaptic cleft slightly negative. The result is that the Ca(2+)-channels in the cone presynaptic membrane experience a slightly depolarized membrane potential and therefore more glutamate is released. This ephaptic mechanism forms a very fast and noise free negative feedback pathway. These characteristics are crucial, since the retina has to perform well in demanding conditions such as low light levels. In this mini-review we will discuss the critical components of such an ephaptic mechanism. Furthermore, we will address the question whether such communication appears in other systems as well and indicate some fundamental features to look for when attempting to identify an ephaptic mechanism.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 09/2013; 7:612. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00612 · 2.90 Impact Factor