Presynaptic inhibition

The inhibitory processes described so far involves the production of hyper-polarizing responses in the postsynaptic cell, and it is thus known as post-synaptic inhibition. Most inhibitory interactions between nerve cells are of this type. In some cases, however, inhibition occurs without there being any postsynaptic response to the inhibitory input alone (Fig. 8.7). This is thought to be caused by synaptic inputs to the presynaptic terminal, which reduce the size of the presynaptic action potential and so reduce the number of transmitter quanta released. Electron microscopy shows the presence of serial synapses (Fig. 8.7c), in good agreement with this view. The process is known as presynaptic inhibition.

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