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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2005 Feb;28(2):264-74.

Simultaneous observation of stably associated presynaptic varicosities and postsynaptic spines: morphological alterations of CA3-CA1 synapses in hippocampal slice cultures.

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Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.


Dendritic spines are highly motile structures, but the extent and mode of coordination in motility between spines and presynaptic varicosities with synaptic contacts is not clear. To analyze movements of dendritic spines and axonal varicosities simultaneously, we labeled CA1 pyramidal cells with green fluorescent protein and CA3 pyramidal cells with rhodamine-dextran in hippocampal slice cultures. Varicosities and spines were visualized using two-photon microscopy to detect close association of two components. Time-lapse imaging revealed that they performed rapid morphological changes without losing their contacts. The extent of overall structural changes between varicosities and spines was correlated, while the direction of short-term volume changes was regulated independently. Furthermore, alterations of dendritic morphology induced by strong electrical stimulation had little effects on their association. These results indicate the presence of local regulatory mechanisms to coordinate presynaptic and postsynaptic motility.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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