Regulation of signal transmission at glutamatergic synapses in the cerebral cortex
Research report (imported) 2004 - Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
The cerebral cortex of mammals consists of two main types of nerve cells: excitatory projection neurons and inhibitory interneurons. The excitatory or inhibitory action is mainly determined by the released transmitter glutamate or γ-amino-butyric acid (GABA). Transmitter release takes place at synapses, the communication sites between nerve cells. The balanced interplay of excitation and inhibition allows for the computational power of the cerebral cortex. A central element of neuronal signal processing is the regulation of transmission strength at synapses. The independent research group “Synaptic regulation and function” studies regulatory mechanisms at glutamatergic synapses with two focal points: the role of electrical signaling at presynaptic nerve endings for transmitter release and long-term plasticity of glutamatergic excitation of inhibitory interneurons. These questions are addressed by use of the patch-clamp technique in brain slices of rodents.