Synaptic morphology and differences in sensitivity

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Apr 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4696, pp. 197-199
DOI: 10.1126/science.3975637


A relation between synaptic morphology and physiology was observed in an in vitro preparation of a sense organ (the ampulla of Lorenzini), in which activity was monitored from the primary afferent neurons before electron microscopic examination of the afferent synapses. The depth of the postsynaptic trough decreased as prefixation sensitivity of the sense organ decreased. This relation and other ultrastructural differences suggest that physiological properties of synapses are influenced by morphological features. Thus, synapses might be morphologically dynamic to modulate synaptic efficacy in relatively long-term phenomena.