Food restriction modifies ultrastructure of hippocampal synapses

Réka Babits, Balázs Szoke, P. Sótonyi, B. Rácz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consumption of high-energy diets may compromise health and may also impair cognition; these impairments have been linked to tasks that require hippocampal function. Conversely, food restriction has been shown to improve certain aspects of hippocampal function, including spatial memory and memory persistence. These diet-dependent functional changes raise the possibility that the synaptic structure underlying hippocampal function is also affected. To examine how short-term food restriction (FR) alters the synaptic structure of the hippocampus, we used quantitative electron microscopy to analyze the organization of neuropil in the CA1 stratum radiatum of the hippocampus in young rats, consequent to reduced food. While four weeks of FR did not modify the density, size, or shape of postsynaptic spines, the synapses established by these spines were altered, displaying increased mean length, and more frequent perforations of postsynaptic densities. That the number of perforated synapses (believed to be an indicator of synaptic enhancement) increased, and that the CA1 spine population had on average significantly longer PSDs suggests that synaptic efficacy of axospinous synapses also increased in the CA1. Taken together, our ultrastructural data reveal previously unrecognized structural changes at hippocampal synapses as a function of food restriction, supporting a link between metabolic balance and synaptic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-444
Number of pages8
JournalHippocampus
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • CA1
  • Dietary restriction
  • Electron microscopy
  • Memory
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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