Intravesicular localization of zinc in rat telencephalic boutons. A histochemical study

Brain Res. 1985 Jun 24;337(1):91-8. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(85)91612-9.


A transition metal (presumably zinc) has been localized inside the synaptic vesicles of rat telencephalic boutons which make asymmetric synaptic contacts (Gray type I). A modification of Timm's sulphide-silver method for electron microscopy was applied to different areas of the rat forebrain: olfactory bulb, septum, caudate-putamen, amygdaloid complex, neocortex, entorhinal cortex and different parts of the hippocampal formation, viz. subiculum, stratum radiatum and oriens of both regio superior (CA1) and regio inferior hippocampi (CA3), the mossy fibre zone and the hilus fascia dentata and stratum moleculare in the gyrus dentatus. It was observed that the Timm staining in all these areas was located in synaptic boutons. Labelled boutons displayed a population of round clear vesicles and few dense core vesicles and made asymmetric synaptic contacts on dendritic spines. Silver granules in these boutons were confined to only a minor fraction of the round clear vesicles (approximately 10%). Labelled boutons occasionally showed silver granules in the synaptic clefts. The possible involvement of vesicular zinc in synaptic transmission is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Synaptic Vesicles / analysis*
  • Telencephalon / analysis*
  • Zinc / analysis*


  • Zinc