Perforated synapses are present during synaptogenesis in rat neocortex

Synapse. 1992 Aug;11(4):279-86. doi: 10.1002/syn.890110403.


It has been known for some time that perforated synapses increase in number and size with increasing age. Initially, these trends were used to support the concept that nonperforated synapses enlarge until an optimal size is reached, at which point they perforate and may subsequently split. More recent stereological and three-dimensional reconstruction investigations, however, suggest that this may not be the case and that perforated and nonperforated synapses constitute separate synaptic populations. In order to test the separate population hypothesis, synapses have been studied ultrastructurally in the parietal cortex of rats aged 19 and 20 days gestation, and 1 and 4 days postnatal. By examining synapses serially, and also by studying three-dimensional reconstructions, it has been demonstrated that perforated synapses are present at each of these ages. Some are relatively simple in organization, resembling previously described perforated synapses at 14 days of age, although others appear to consist of two or more separate PSD components. These findings demonstrate that perforated synapses are present from early on in synaptogenesis and that developing perforated synapses may have distinct characteristics that cast light on their developmental course.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / ultrastructure*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development
  • Fetus / anatomy & histology
  • Fetus / physiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rats
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*