Intramembranous structure of synaptic membranes with special reference to spinules in the rat sensorimotor cortex

Eur J Neurosci. 1999 May;11(5):1843-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1460-9568.1999.00608.x.


The intramembranous structure of the synaptic contact zone at presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes in the rat sensorimotor cortex was examined by means of the freeze-etching technique. In axospinous synapses, the synaptic contact zone is characterized by perforated and nonperforated aggregates of intramembranous particles at the extracellular half or E-face of the postsynaptic membrane. On some perforated synaptic contact zones, both synaptic membranes are marked by so called spinules. These invaginations of the postsynaptic membrane and the parallel presynaptic membrane into the axon terminal are situated at the particle free zones among the postsynaptic E-face intramembranous particle aggregates or in close proximity to it. Intramembranous characteristics of the spinules at both freeze-etched faces of presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes and their density of perforated axospinous synapses were analysed. The results are discussed in terms of plasticity at the synaptic contact zone of the axospinous synapses of the sensorimotor cortex in the rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Freeze Etching
  • Motor Cortex / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*