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Modelling zinc changes at the hippocampal mossy fiber synaptic cleft

Authors: Quinta-Ferreira, M. E.; Sampaio dos Aidos, F. D. S.; Matias, C. M.; Mendes, P. J.; Dionisio, J. C.; Santos, R. M.; Rosario, L. M.; Quinta-Ferreira, R. M.

Ref.: J Comput Neurosci 41, 323-337 (2016)

Abstract: Zinc, a transition metal existing in very high concentrations in the hippocampal mossy fibers from CA3 area, is assumed to be co-released with glutamate and to have a neuromodulatory role at the corresponding synapses. The synaptic action of zinc is determined both by the spatiotemporal characteristics of the zinc release process and by the kinetics of zinc binding to sites located in the cleft area, as well as by their concentrations. This work addresses total, free and complexed zinc concentration changes, in an individual synaptic cleft, following single, short and long periods of evoked zinc release. The results estimate the magnitude and time course of the concentrations of zinc complexes, assuming that the dynamics of the release processes are similar to those of glutamate. It is also considered that, for the cleft zinc concentrations used in the model (aecurrency sign 1 mu M), there is no postsynaptic zinc entry. For this reason, all released zinc ends up being reuptaken in a process that is several orders of magnitude slower than that of release and has thus a much smaller amplitude. The time derivative of the total zinc concentration in the cleft is represented by the difference between two alpha functions, corresponding to the released and uptaken components. These include specific parameters that were chosen assuming zinc and glutamate co-release, with similar time courses. The peak amplitudes of free zinc in the cleft were selected based on previously reported experimental cleft zinc concentration changes evoked by single and multiple stimulation protocols. The results suggest that following a low amount of zinc release, similar to that associated with one or a few stimuli, zinc clearance is mainly mediated by zinc binding to the high-affinity sites on the NMDA receptors and to the low-affinity sites on the highly abundant GLAST glutamate transporters. In the case of higher zinc release brought about by a larger group of stimuli, most zinc binding occurs essentially to the GLAST transporters, having the corresponding zinc complex a maximum concentration that is more than one order of magnitude larger than that for the high and low affinity NMDA sites. The other zinc complexes considered in the model, namely those formed with sites on the AMPA receptors, calcium and K-ATP channels and with ATP molecules, have much smaller contributions to the synaptic zinc clearance.

DOI: 10.1007/s10827-016-0620-x