Activity-dependent plasticity of transmitter release from nerve terminals in rat fast and slow muscles

Brian Reid, V. N. Martinov, A. Nja, T. Lomo, Guy Smith Bewick

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Abstract

Neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) on fast and slow muscle fibers display different transmitter release characteristics that appear well adapted to the different patterns of nerve impulses that they transmit in vivo. Here, we ask whether the release properties of such NMJs, termed fast and slow, can be transformed by chronic nerve stimulation. In young adult rats, nerve impulse conduction in the sciatic nerve was blocked by TTX, and the nerve to the fast extensor digitorum longus (EDL) or the slow soleus (SOL) muscle stimulated directly below the block with slow (20 Hz for 10 sec every 30 sec) or fast (150 Hz for 1 sec every 60 sec) stimulus patterns, respectively. After 3-4 weeks, originally fast EDL-NMJs and slow SOL-NMJs had become almost fully transformed to slow and fast NMJs, respectively, with respect to maintenance of transmitter release during tonic 20 Hz stimulation in vitro and ratio of quantal content to vesicle pool size. TTX block alone had no such transforming effect. Vesicle recycle time was unaffected by the stimulation, whereas initial quantal content and vesicle pool size were reduced (by 49% and 57% in EDL and 33% and 67% in SOL). Muscle fiber diameter also declined (by 49% in EDL and 33% in SOL vs 46% in unstimulated SOL; unstimulated EDL was not examined). We conclude that fast and slow NMJs display marked plasticity by being able to adapt important release characteristics to the impulse patterns imposed on them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9340-9348
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume23
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2003

Keywords

  • neuromuscular junction
  • synaptic plasticity
  • transmitter release
  • synaptic vesicles
  • rat
  • neural activity
  • FM1-43
  • stimulation
  • in vivo
  • FROG NEUROMUSCULAR-JUNCTION
  • FAST-TWITCH MUSCLE
  • CONTRACTILE PROPERTIES
  • CRAYFISH MOTONEURON
  • CONDUCTION BLOCK
  • SKELETAL-MUSCLES
  • MAMMALIAN FAST
  • SAFETY FACTOR
  • MOTOR AXONS
  • STIMULATION

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