Large myelinated club endings on the Mauthner cell in the goldfish. A study with thin sectioning and freeze-fracturing

Anat Embryol (Berl). 1986;173(3):361-70. doi: 10.1007/BF00318920.


Thin sectioning and freeze-fracturing have revealed the distribution of gap junctions and chemical synapses in the synaptic interface of the large myelinated club endings on the lateral dendrite of the goldfish Mauthner cell. In 12 samples of club endings fractured completely or nearly completely, the apposed synaptic membrane area averaged 39.090 microns2, of which 16.6% was occupied by gap junctions and about 4 to 5% by the active zones of chemical synapses. The numerical profile density (number per unit area of the synaptic membrane) of gap junctions varied greatly, from 1.78 to 6.30, and was mostly in inverse proportion to their size. The chemical synapses were located mainly in two places: in the circumferential rim of the synaptic membrane next to the widened extracellular space, and in the margins of intraterminal invaginations of the synaptic cleft. The axoplasm of the preterminal axon, just after losing its myelin sheath, was filled with microtubules, among which neurofilaments gathered into many small bundles. The correlation between the areas of gap junctions and the chemical synapses and the amplitude of the excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSP) is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cyprinidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Freeze Fracturing
  • Goldfish / anatomy & histology*
  • Intermediate Filaments / ultrastructure
  • Medulla Oblongata / ultrastructure*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / ultrastructure*
  • Synaptic Membranes / ultrastructure*