The presynaptic release mechanism involved in excitatory synaptic connections between neurons in cell cultures of fetal mouse spinal cord were studied by statistical analysis of intracellularly recorded postsynaptic responses. Quantal parameters were determined for the EPSPs evoked in spinal cord (SC) neurons by stimulation of either other SC or dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Transmitter release was manipulated by varying the Ca2+ and Mg2+ content of the culture medium. The release process was represented better by binomial than by Poisson statistics. A method was derived for obtaining the probability of release and the number of release elements. The quantal content and the number of release elements were substantially higher for the SC-SC connection than for the DRG-SC connection. This was partially compensated for by a larger quantal amplitude for the DRG-SC connection. There was some indication that the probability of release was higher for the SC-SC connection. The relationship between transmitter output and effective external Ca2+ ion concentration was approximately linear.
- Copyright © 1983 the American Physiological Society