Acta Stereologica



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Didima M.G. de Groot

Disc-like and complex-shaped synapses: number, size and dense projections. A critical note.

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Attempts were made to derive a numerical relation between two differently shaped synapse populations in the hippocampus of an ageing rat. In addition, the size of their pre-synaptic surface areas and their corresponding number of dense projections were estimated. Stereological methods, applicable to arbitrarily shaped particles, are recommended to investigate these entities. The methods make use of an optimal combination of serial and random section measurements. The findings indicate that the size of the pre-synaptic surface area and the number of presynaptic dense projections are highly correlated. Moreover, it appears that these dense projections are regularly arranged and that they most likely follow the pattern suggested by the "tile model". Consequently, this model may be useful to calculate the number of dense projections on an individual synapse of arbitrary shape; undoubtedly an interesting parameter in neurobiology.

The goal of the present paper was to discuss the possibilities and limitations of the different techniques involved, rather than to describe in detail the proposed stereology.

Keywords : complex-shaped, dense projections, perforated synapses, section-thickness, serial sectioning, stereology

To cite this article

Didima M.G. de Groot, «Disc-like and complex-shaped synapses: number, size and dense projections. A critical note.», Acta Stereologica [En ligne], Volume 4 (1985), Number 2 - Proceedings of the fourth European symposium for stereology - Dec. 1985, 147-151 URL :

About: Didima M.G. de Groot

Medical Biological Laboratory TNO, P.O. Box 45, 2280 AA, Rijswijk, The Netherlands