Ultrastructural features of sprouted mossy fiber synapses in kindled and kainic acid-treated rats

José E. Cavazos, Peisu Zhang, Romena Qazi, Thomas P. Sutula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mossy fiber pathway in the dentate gyrus undergoes sprouting and synaptic reorganization in response to seizures. The types of new synapses, their location and number, and the identity of their postsynaptic targets determine the functional properties of the reorganized circuitry. The goal of this study was to characterize the types and proportions of sprouted mossy fiber synapses in kindled and kainic acid-treated rats. In normal rats, synapses labeled by Timm histochemistry or dynorphin immunohistochemistry were rarely observed in the supragranular region of the inner molecular layer when examined by electron microscopy. In epileptic rats, sprouted mossy fiber synaptic terminals were frequently observed. The ultrastructural analysis of the types of sprouted synapses revealed that 1) in the supragranular region, labeled synaptic profiles were more frequently axospinous than axodendritic, and many axospinous synapses were perforated; 2) sprouted mossy fiber synaptic terminals formed exclusively asymmetric, putatively excitatory synapses with dendritic spines and shafts in the supragranular region and with the soma of granule cells in the granule cell layer; 3) in contrast to the large sprouted mossy fiber synapses in resected human epileptic hippocampus, the synapses formed by sprouted mossy fibers in rats were smaller; and 4) in several cases, the postsynaptic targets of sprouted synapses were identified as granule cells, but, in one case, a sprouted synaptic terminal formed a synapse with an inhibitory interneuron. The results demonstrate that axospinous asymmetric synapses are the most common type of synapse formed by sprouted mossy fiber terminals, supporting the viewpoint that most sprouted mossy fibers contribute to recurrent excitation in epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-292
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume458
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 7 2003

Keywords

  • Dentate gyrus
  • Epilepsy
  • Granule cells
  • Hippocampus
  • Plasticity
  • Seizures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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