Central synapses release a resource-efficient amount of glutamate

Leonid P. Savtchenko, Sergiy Sylantyev, Dmitri A. Rusakov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-12
Number of pages3
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number1
Early online date16 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

The authors thank A. Silver, D. Kullmann and K. Volynski for comments, and
P. Michaluk for help with granule cell cultures. This work was supported by the
Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, European Research Council
Advanced Grant, and Biotechnology and UK Biological Sciences Research Council.


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