The influence of long-term potentiation on the spatial relationship between astrocyte processes and potentiated synapses in the dentate gyrus neuropil of rat brain

Brain Res. 1991 Sep 27;560(1-2):122-31. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)91222-m.


The influence of long-term potentiation (induced by repeated high-frequency stimulation of the perforant pathway) on the distribution pattern of astrocyte processes in the neuropil of the hippocampal dentate area containing the potentiated synapses was investigated by quantitative electronmicroscopy. It has been found that significant changes occurred in the ramification of astrocyte processes as well as in their topographic relation to synaptic complexes. When comparing the results obtained in LTP animals with active control or sham-operated animals, we found significant higher numerical density, but smaller volume, higher surface density and closer apposition of astrocyte processes to the synaptic clefts, boutons terminaux or spines in the potentiated synapses containing neuropil. The glial reaction to synaptic activation has been seen most pronounced 8 h after the LTP induction. The results are pointing to a participation of the glia cells in the maintenance of the LTP effect as well as to a metabolic coupling between synaptic transmission and glia function for equilibrating the homeostasis by clearing the extracellular space next to the transmission zones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Synapses / ultrastructure*