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      Stochastic, structural and functional factors influencing AMPA and NMDA synaptic response variability: a review


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          Synaptic transmission is the basic mechanism of information transfer between neurons not only in the brain, but along all the nervous system. In this review we will briefly summarize some of the main parameters that produce stochastic variability in the synaptic response. This variability produces different effects on important brain phenomena, like learning and memory, and, alterations of its basic factors can cause brain malfunctioning.

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          AMPA receptor trafficking and synaptic plasticity.

          Activity-dependent changes in synaptic function are believed to underlie the formation of memories. Two prominent examples are long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), whose mechanisms have been the subject of considerable scrutiny over the past few decades. Here we review the growing literature that supports a critical role for AMPA receptor trafficking in LTP and LTD, focusing on the roles proposed for specific AMPA receptor subunits and their interacting proteins. While much work remains to understand the molecular basis for synaptic plasticity, recent results on AMPA receptor trafficking provide a clear conceptual framework for future studies.
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            Quantitative ultrastructural analysis of hippocampal excitatory synapses.

            From three-dimensional reconstructions of CA1 excitatory synapses in the rodent hippocampus and in culture, we have estimated statistical distributions of active zone and postsynaptic density (PSD) sizes (average area approximately 0.04 micron2), the number of active zones per bouton (usually one), the number of docked vesicles per active zone (approximately 10), and the total number of vesicles per bouton (approximately 200), and we have determined relationships between these quantities, all of which vary from synapse to synapse but are highly correlated. These measurements have been related to synaptic physiology. In particular, we propose that the distribution of active zone areas can account for the distribution of synaptic release probabilities and that each active zone constitutes a release site as identified in the standard quantal theory attributable to Katz (1969).
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              Synaptic plasticity at hippocampal mossy fibre synapses.

              The dentate gyrus provides the main input to the hippocampus. Information reaches the CA3 region through mossy fibre synapses made by dentate granule cell axons. Synaptic plasticity at the mossy fibre-pyramidal cell synapse is unusual for several reasons, including low basal release probability, pronounced frequency facilitation and a lack of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor involvement in long-term potentiation. In the past few years, some of the mechanisms underlying the peculiar features of mossy fibre synapses have been elucidated. Here we describe recent work from several laboratories on the various forms of synaptic plasticity at hippocampal mossy fibre synapses. We conclude that these contacts have just begun to reveal their many secrets.

                Author and article information

                Neuronal Signal
                Neuronal Signal
                Neuronal Signaling
                Portland Press Ltd.
                August 2017
                14 June 2017
                : 1
                : 3
                : NS20160051
                Istituto di Scienze Applicate e Sistemi Intelligenti del CNR, Via Campi Flegrei 34, 80078, Pozzuoli, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Vito Di Maio ( vito.dimaio@ 123456cnr.it )
                © 2017 The Author(s).

                This is an open access article published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY).

                : 08 March 2017
                : 17 May 2017
                : 17 May 2017
                : 18 May 2017
                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Computational Biology
                Review Articles

                ampa,epsc,ltp,nmda,synaptic transmission,synaptic modeling
                ampa, epsc, ltp, nmda, synaptic transmission, synaptic modeling


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