• action potential;
  • computer simulation;
  • degree of synchrony;
  • endplate current;
  • frog


The effects of high-frequency nerve stimulation (10–100 Hz) on the kinetics of evoked acetylcholine quanta secretion from frog motor nerve endings were studied. The amplitude and temporal parameters of uni- and multiquantal endplate currents were analysed to estimate the possible changes in the degree of synchrony of quantal release. The frog neuromuscular synapse is unusually long and we have placed special emphasis on evaluating the velocity of propagation of excitation along the nonmyelinated nerve ending as this might influence the synchrony of release from the whole terminal and hence affect the time course of postsynaptic currents. The data show that high-frequency firing leads to the desynchronization of acetylcholine release from motor nerve endings governed by at least two independent factors, namely a reduction of nerve pulse propagation velocity in the nonmyelinated parts of the axon and a change of secretion kinetics at single active zones. A computer reconstruction of the multiquantal synaptic response was performed to estimate any contribution of each of the above factors to the total rate of release and amplitude and time characteristics of the endplate currents. The results indicate that modification of the kinetics of neurotransmitter quanta release during high-frequency firing should be taken into account when mechanisms underlying the plasticity of chemical synapses are under investigation.