Monitoring Baseline Synaptic Transmission

In most pharmacologic experiments using physiologic recordings in hippocam-pal slice preparations, the effects of drug application on baseline synaptic transmission can be evaluated by simply monitoring EPSPs before and after drug application, using a constant stimulus intensity. A more elaborate alternative is to produce input-output curves for EPSP initial slope (or magnitude) versus stimulus intensity for the presynaptic stimulus (see Figure 5).

These types of within-slice experiments are very straightforward; however, this type of within-preparation design is not possible in some experimental comparisons. For example, if one is comparing a wild-type with a knockout animal, there of necessity must be a comparison across preparations. How does one evaluate if there is a difference in basal synaptic transmission in this situation? The principal confound is that while one has control over the

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