Optimising the energetic cost of the glutamatergic synapse
Authors listJonathan Lezmy Julia Harris David Attwell
As for electronic computation, neural information processing is energetically expensive. This is because information is coded in the brain as membrane voltage changes, which are generated largely by passive ion movements down electrochemical gradients, and these ion movements later need to be reversed by active ATP-dependent ion pumping. This article will review how much of the energetic cost of the brain reflects the activity of glutamatergic synapses, consider the relative amount of energy used pre- and postsynaptically, outline how evolution has energetically optimised synapse function by adjusting the presynaptic release probability and the postsynaptic number of glutamate receptors, and speculate on how energy use by synapses may be sensed and adjusted.