Acetylcholinesterase activity and type C synapses in the hypoglossal, facial and spinal-cord motor nuclei of rats
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- Davidoff, M.S. & Irintchev, A.P. Histochemistry (1986) 84: 515. doi:10.1007/BF00482985
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Using the electron-microscope technique of Lewis and Shute, we studied the localization of the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in the hypoglossal, facial and spinal-cord motor nuclei of rats. The technique used selectively detects synapses with subsynaptic cisterns (type C synapses) as well as heavy deposits of reaction products in the rough endoplasmic reticulum, in fragments of the nuclear envelope, in some Golgi zones and on parts of the pericaryal plasma membrane, the axolemma and the dendritic membrane. In C synapses, AChE activity was located in the synaptie cleft and on the membrane of presynaptic boutons. Some C synapses exhibited distinct synaptic specialization in the form of multiple ‘active zones’. These zones were characterized by dense presynaptic projections, short dilations of the synaptic cleft, and postsynaptic densities localized between the postsynaptic membrane and the outer membrane of the subsynaptic cistern. Within the postsynaptic densities, rows of rod- or channel-like structures were observed. The subsynaptic cisterns were continuous with the positive rough endoplasmic reticulum. The results are discussed in terms of the possible role of C synapses in the regulation of AChE synthesis in postsynaptic cholinergic neurons and/or in the regulation of AChE release into the extracellular space as well as in the establishment of new synaptic contacts.