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Trends Neurosci. 2003 Nov;26(11):573-5.

Dynamic presynaptic varicosities: a role in activity-dependent synaptogenesis.

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Neuropharmacology, Centre M├ędical Universitaire, 1211 4, Geneva, Switzerland.


Recent developments in confocal imaging techniques have opened new avenues for investigating how synaptic networks evolve over time. These studies have revealed not only that synaptic structures are motile but also, most importantly, that a fraction of synapses undergo a continuous elimination and formation process, and that these mechanisms are markedly enhanced by activity. Turnover of dendritic spines was recently demonstrated in the somatosensory cortex upon sensory stimulation. De Paola et al. have now provided evidence for correlated remodelling of presynaptic structures. These results, together with others, indicate that activation of neuronal networks enhances dynamic mechanisms at both the presynaptic and the postsynaptic level, resulting in an increased turnover of synapses and, accordingly, a reorganization of synaptic circuitry.

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