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Neuron. 2006 Mar 16;49(6):780-3.

Should I stay or should I go? Presynaptic boutons in the adult cortex still haven't made up their minds.

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Systems Neurobiology Laboratories, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Previous studies demonstrating turnover of the dendritic spines of cortical neurons have suggested a modest rate of turnover of synaptic connections. Now, two papers in this issue of Neuron address this question from the other side of the synapse, the presynaptic boutons. Both studies use in vivo multiphoton imaging of cortical axons to show that synaptic boutons come and go, just like spines. One of the studies shows remarkable diversity in the lability of boutons depending on the cell type from which they originate, with some boutons displaying nearly complete turnover in just a few months. The other study shows that bouton turnover occurs in primates as well as rodents.

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