Veratridine‐stimulated central synapses in culture: A quantitative ultrastructural analysis

Z. Janka, M. Da Cruz, D. G. Jones

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Synapses in explant cultures of fetal rat neocortex at day 18 in vitro were stimulated by veratridine (10−4M) for 20 min. The cultures were subsequently processed for electron microscopy and the synapses were analyzed by quantitative techniques, incorporating set mathematical treatment. The mean values of area, perimeter, and form factor of the presynaptic elements significantly increased following veratridine stimulation, compared to the values of control synapses. The length of the postsynaptic thickening also increased, while synaptic curvature did not change significantly in the veratridine group. A fivefold reduction was observed in the mean number of synaptic vesicles per presynaptic element and in the vesicle‐terminal area ratio, following veratridine stimulation. The cytoplasm‐terminal area ratio and the occurrence of vacuoles/cisternae significantly increased after veratridine application. Planar measurement of membranes (boundary length) of different presynaptic organelles revealed that the total membrane did not change significantly in the veratridine group. The data indicated an increase in volume and swelling of the pre‐ and postsynaptic elements, considerable depletion of synaptic vesicles, and preservation of the total presynaptic membrane following veratridine stimulation in nerve tissue culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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