Rich Manalis, Adjunct Professor of Biology, Goshen College
My research pertains to an integrative physiological approach to the study of SHORT-TERM SYNAPTIC EFFICACY using the frog sciatic nerve/gastrocnemius preparation. The essence of my findings is illustrated in the following graph:
In the above graph, the sciatic nerve was stimulated five times with identical dual-pulses; each dual-pulse consisted of a conditioning stimulus followed 120 ms later by a test stimulus. The conditioning twitches decreased during the stimulus train; this is called depression. On the other hand, the test twitches increased during the train; this is called facilitation. Both depression and facilitation are important examples of changes in synaptic efficacy.
What follows are two questions for your consideration:
- Explain how the measurement of muscle twitches can provide meaningful information with respect to short-term synaptic efficacy.
- Compare and contrast changes in synaptic efficacy measured from the frog sciatic nerve/gastrocnemius preparation with those measured from a hippocampus brain slice, which is the preparation in which LONG-TERM POTENTIATION is studied.