Differential modulation of spontaneous and evoked neurotransmitter release from hair cells: Some novel hypotheses

  • Guth P
  • Aubert A
  • Ricci A
 et al. 
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Abstract

It has been generally accepted that even in the absence of mechanical stimulation of the transductional elements, a resting depolarizing current exists which is ultimately responsible for the spontaneous release of neurotransmitter. Movement of the transductional elements modulates this resting current and thereby the evoked release of neurotransmitter occurs. Recent data from our laboratory and others have led us to question whether the relationship between spontaneous and evoked neurotransmitter release is as simple as stated. Indeed, a variety of experimental manipulations appear to influence the two modes of release differently. Examination of our results and the results of others has led us to four hypotheses: 1. 1. the two modes of neurotransmitter release are processed differently by the hair cells; 2. 2. cyclic AMP is involved in spontaneous but not evoked neurotransmitter release; 3. 3. there is a positive feedback step involving an excitatory amino acid and its receptor on the hair cell in evoked neurotransmitter release and; 4. 4. different pools of calcium are involved according to the mode of release. Accordingly, there may be several biochemical steps between the transductional movement of the stereocilia at the apex of the hair cells and the ultimate release of the neurotransmitter at the base of these cells. Some of these biochemical steps are different depending on whether the mode of release is spontaneous or evoked. These biochemical steps may amplify or at least interact with the biophysical processes previously described in the hair cells. © 1991.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Calcium
  • Glutamate
  • Hair cell
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Octavolateralis
  • Semicircular canal

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