Three-dimensional structure of dendritic spines in the rat neostriatum
Journal of Neuroscience
Dendritic spines of rat neostriatal neurons were examined by light microscopy and high voltage stereo electron microscopy (HVEM) following selective staining by intracellular microinjection of horseradish peroxidase. Conventionally prepared material also was used for quantitative analysis of dendritic spines from serial thin sections of neostriatum. Stereo electron microscopy of semithin sections from rat neostriatum fixed using a protocol designed to preserve cytoskeletal integrity was
... tegrity was employed to examine the organization of the dendritic spine cytoplasm. Light microscopic and HVEM examination of spiny dendrites and quantitative analysis of serial thin sections from normal material revealed no distinct spine types but rather continuous and independent variation of spine head diameter, stalk diameter, and stalk length. Likewise, there was no systematic relationship between any of these spine dimensions and dendritic diameter. Spine head membrane surface area was directly related to the area of the synaptic junctional membrane of the spine head. In semithin sections, the cytoplasm of the spine contained membranous saccules of spine apparatus and a delicate cytoskeletal network composed of microfilaments and a set of finer and more variable cytoskeletal filaments. It is proposed that this cytoskeletal network together with the spine apparatus is responsible for the maintenance and alteration of spine shape and in this way controls the effectiveness of axospinous synapses.