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Quantal analysis of a decremental response at hair cell-afferent fibre synapses in the goldfish sacculus.

The Journal of Physiology

Synaptic Transmission, physiology, Synapses, Saccule and Utricle, Neurons, Afferent, Kinetics, Hair Cells, Auditory, Goldfish, Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Ear, Inner, Cyprinidae, Animals

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      1. On application of a step decrement in the sound intensity, the amplitude of excitatory post-synaptic potentials (e.p.s.p.s) recorded intracellularly from large afferent auditory fibres in goldfish's sacculus showed a decremental response in which the amplitude of the e.p.s.p.s was temporarily reduced to a very low level, but soon returned to a new steady level appropriate to the decreased sound intensity. This response seems to underlie the temporary reduction in the rate of afferent discharge observed in the mammalian cochlea upon cessation of sound or upon reduction of its intensity 2. A statistical analysis revealed that reduction in the size of the mean quantal content (m) during the decremental response was associated with reduction in the size of binomial population (n), but not that of the probability (p) of any one of the available quanta actually being used. 3. The temporary reduction in the size of n during the decremental responses can be explained if it is assumed that replenishment to vacant release sites was channelled to high threshold sites and that the low threshold sites were bypassed. The mechanism underlying this special type of replenishment is discussed in relation to the ultrastructural features of presynaptic sites in the hair cell.

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