Monitoring Baseline Synaptic Transmission

magnitude of the stimulus one delivers to the presynaptic fibers, differences from preparation to preparation (electrode placement, slice thickness, etc.) cause variability in the magnitude of the synaptic response elicited by a constant stimulus amplitude. One approach commonly to compare one preparation (or animal strain) to the next is to quantitate the EPSP relative to the amplitude of the fiber volley in that same hippocampal slice (see figure 5A). The rationale is that the fiber volley, which represents the action potentials firing in the presy-naptic fibers, is a presynaptic physiologic response from within the same slice and that one can at least normalize the EPSP to a within-slice parameter. The underlying assumption is that the magnitude of the fiber volley is representative of the number of axons firing an action potential. While not a perfect control, evaluating input-output relationships for fiber volley magnitude versus EPSP is a great improvement when comparing different types of animals. If differences are observed, an increase in the fiber volley amplitude-EPSP slope relationship suggests an augmentation of synaptic transmission.

stimulation (see Figure 5). A variation is a "strong" induction protocol where LTP is induced with three pairs of 100 Hz, 1-second stimuli, where stimulus intensity is near that necessary for a maximal EPSP. This latter protocol gives robust LTP that lasts for essentially as long as one can keep the hippocampal slice alive.

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