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Synaptic structure, distribution, and circuitry in the central nervous system of the locust and related insects

Watson, Alan Hugh David and Schürmann, Friedrich-Wilhelm 2002. Synaptic structure, distribution, and circuitry in the central nervous system of the locust and related insects. Microscopy Research and Technique 56 (3) , pp. 210-226. 10.1002/jemt.10031

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The Orthopteran central nervous system has proved a fertile substrate for combined morphological and physiological studies of identified neurons. Electron microscopy reveals two major types of synaptic contacts between nerve fibres: chemical synapses (which predominate) and electrotonic (gap) junctions. The chemical synapses are characterized by a structural asymmetry between the pre- and postsynaptic electron dense paramembranous structures. The postsynaptic paramembranous density defines the extent of a synaptic contact that varies according to synaptic type and location in single identified neurons. Synaptic bars are the most prominent presynaptic element at both monadic and dyadic (divergent) synapses. These are associated with small electron lucent synaptic vesicles in neurons that are cholinergic or glutamatergic (round vesicles) or GABAergic (pleomorphic vesicles). Dense core vesicles of different sizes are indicative of the presence of peptide or amine transmitters. Synapses are mostly found on small-diameter neuropilar branches and the number of synaptic contacts constituting a single physiological synapse ranges from a few tens to several thousand depending on the neurones involved. Some principles of synaptic circuitry can be deduced from the analysis of highly ordered brain neuropiles. With the light microscope, synaptic location can be inferred from the distribution of the presynaptic protein synapsin I. In the ventral nerve cord, identified neurons that are components of circuits subserving known behaviours, have been studied using electrophysiology in combination with light and electron microscopy and immunocytochemistry of neuroactive compounds. This has allowed the synaptic distribution of the major classes of neurone in the ventral nerve cord to be analysed within a functional context.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1059-910X
Last Modified: 02 May 2019 11:33

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