Enhanced expression of AMPA receptor protein at perforated axospinous synapses

Neuroreport. 1998 Mar 30;9(5):857-60. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199803300-00017.


We performed a quantitative electron microscopic analysis of the middle third of the molecular layer in the dentate gyrus of rat, using material processed with postembedding gold labeling for the glutamate receptor subunits GluR1, GluR2/3, or NMDAR1. Perforated axospinous synapses were at least twice as likely as non-perforated ones to express detectable levels of AMPA receptor subunits, whereas no significant differences in NMDA receptor expression were observed. These data imply that perforated synapses may be especially potent, and are consistent with the hypothesis that insertion of AMPA receptor protein into the postsynaptic membrane of previously silent synapses contributes to long-term potentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / biosynthesis
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate