Sequential changes in the synaptic structural profile following long-term potentiation in the rat dentate gyrus. II. Induction / early maintenance phase
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Long-term potentiation (LTP), one of the most compelling models of learning and memory, has been associated with changes in synaptic morphology. In this study, LTP was induced and animals were sacrificed 1 h after the stimulation of the LTP group (induction / early maintenance phase). Synapses in the directly stimulated middle third of the dentate gyrus molecular layer (MML) were examined while synapses from the inner third of the dentate molecular layer (IML) of the LTP animals and both the MML and the IML of implanted animals served as controls. The total number of synapses per neuron, synaptic curvature, the presence of synaptic perforations, and the maximum length of the synaptic contact and active zone were examined. No overall change in the number of synapses per neuron was observed in the LTP tissue. LTP was associated with a significant increase in the proportion of perforated and irregular-shaped synapses compared to controls. The increase in perforated synapses was particularly apparent in the proportion of concave perforated synapses. Nonperforated concave synapses were found to be significantly larger in potentiated tissue. The total synaptic length per neuron of synapses in a concave configuration was also significantly higher following potentiation. These results suggest that the specific structural profile associated with 1-h post-LTP induction, which differed from the profile observed at 24 h post-induction, may represent a unique early phase of synaptic remodeling in a series of changes observed during LTP induction, maintenance, and decay.
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