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J Neurocytol. 1980 Oct;9(5):573-90.

Light-dependent plasticity of the morphology of horizontal cell terminals in cone pedicles of fish retinas.


Horizontal cell terminals lateral to the synaptic ribbons in goldfish cone pedicles give rise to 0.3 micron long, finger-like extensions in the light-adapted state. These structures, called spinules, disappear almost completely after dark adaptation. The ultrastructure of the horizontal cell terminals is characterized by the presence of occasional microtubules, microfilaments and sparse irregular vesicles; in the dark, large multivesicular bodies can also be found. Two types of membrane densities are described in the horizontal cell terminals, one of which is typically located at the tip of the spinules. Their positive reaction to E-PTA makes it probable that the spinules are synaptic structures. Reconstruction of serial sections shows about 12 spinules per terminal in the light but only two in the dark. Formation and disappearance of the spinules takes about 60 min and involves a transitional stage in the form of a spherical structure. Spinules can be found in five other teleost species, with a darkness-induced reduction in number, but not in the horizontal cell terminals of the mudpuppy, turtle and mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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