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Why synapses release a certain amount of neurotransmitter is poorly understood. We combined patch-clamp electrophysiology with computer simulations to estimate how much glutamate is discharged at two distinct central synapses of the rat. We found that, regardless of some uncertainty over synaptic microenvironment, synapses generate the maximal current per released glutamate molecule while maximizing signal information content. Our result suggests that synapses operate on a principle of resource optimization.


Leonid P Savtchenko, Sergiy Sylantyev, Dmitri A Rusakov. Central synapses release a resource-efficient amount of glutamate. Nature neuroscience. 2013 Jan;16(1):10-2

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PMID: 23242311

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