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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Nov 1977; 74(11): 4977–4981.
PMCID: PMC432081

Synapse turnover: the formation and termination of transient synapses.

Abstract

Neurons dissociated from chick embryo retina form synapses with cultured rat striated muscle cells in 35-90 min when neurite extension is uncoupled from later steps in synapse formation. The results suggest that a reaction is required for synapse formation after neurons adhere to muscle cells. All synapses between retina neurons and muscle cells are terminated in 3-10 days depending on the developmental age of the neurons. The half-lives of synapses between muscle cells and retina neurons from 8-, 12-, or 13-day embryos are 36, 26, and 5 hr and mean synapse life-times are 53, 37, and 7.1 hr, respectively. The results show that synapses turn over and that the rate of turnover increases during development. The results suggest that both synapse formation and termination rates are regulated and that the specificity of synaptic connections can be increased by selective termination of synapses.

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Selected References

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