Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biochem Soc Trans. 2010 Apr;38(2):471-5. doi: 10.1042/BST0380471.

Reactive hypertrophy of synaptic varicosities within the hippocampus of prion-infected mice.

Author information

  • 1CNS Inflammation Group, Basset Crescent East, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 7PX, UK.


Prion diseases are characteristically accompanied by extensive synaptic pathology that can occur during the preclinical phase of the disease and, in animal models, correlates with the first decline of hippocampus-dependent cognitive functions. This pathology is defined by abnormally shaped synapses in which the postsynaptic membrane modifies its curvature and potentially engulfs the juxtaposed presynaptic membrane. Using the intrahippocampally injected ME7 prion model, we further detailed the structural alterations of the population of ostensibly intact synaptic compartments within the hippocampus during this period of extensive synaptic loss. A disease stage-dependent increase in the average PSD (postsynaptic density) area, the average length of the active zone and the average number of synaptic vesicles indicated that the synapses that were visualized as the animal progressed to end-stage disease were undergoing hypertrophy. Similar findings in samples from AD (Alzheimer's disease) patients, aged and senile individuals, and animal models of neurodegenerative diseases suggest synaptic swelling as synaptic loss is initiated and/or compensatory reaction to counteract the synaptic loss.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

LinkOut - more resources

Full Text Sources

Other Literature Sources

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk