Opera Medica et Physiologica

Michael G.Stewart

Long Term Potentiation (LTP) and Long Term Depression (LTD) Cause Differential Spatial Redistribution of the Synaptic Vesicle Protein Synaptophysin in the Middle Molecular Layer of the Dentate Gyrus in Rat Hippocampus

Synaptophysin is a synaptic vesicle glycoprotein with four transmembrane domains and has a molecular weight of 38 kD. It accounts for 7% of the total vesicle membrane proteins (Nadol et al., 1993) and is considered a reliable marker of nerve terminal differentiation due to its differential expression in terms of level and localization of immunoreactivity (Lupa and Hall, 1989). It has been identified as a calcium-binding protein (Shin, 2014) and hence may be a major component of the mechanism of neurotransmitter release (Reichardt et al., 1983).

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The presynaptic modifications that accompany long-term changes in synaptic plasticity are still not fully understood. Synaptophysin is a major synaptic vesicle protein involved in neurotransmitter release. We have used quantitative electron microscopy to study synaptophysin (Syn) immunolabelling in the hippocampus of adult rats 24h after induction in vivo of long term potentiation (LTP), and long term depression (LTD). Electrodes were implanted chronically in hippocampus with stimulation at either the medial (MPP) or lateral perforant path (LPP). 24h following induction of LTP or LTD rats were rapidly perfusion fixed and hippocampal tissue processed to electron microscopy via freeze substitution method. Anti-synaptophysin post-embedding immunolabelling was performed and tissue was imaged in the middle molecular layer (MML) of the dentate gyrus. There was a significant decrease in number of Syn labelled vesicles per unit area of bouton after LTP, but not LTD. An analysis of the spatial distribution of Syn labelled synaptic vesicles showed an increase in nearest neighbour distances, more so in the LTP than the LTD group, which is consistent with the overall decrease of Syn after LTP. These data are in agreement with the suggestion that Syn is involved in clathrin-dependent and “kiss and run” endocytosis which occurs perisynaptically. Thus, an increase in release of neurotransmitter and in consequence endocytosis would be consistent with an increased active zone distance for vesicles containing Syn.

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