Spine-like astrocytic protrusions into large axon terminals

  • J. Špaček
  • A. R. Lieberman


Electron microscopic studies and three-dimensional graphic reconstructions from serial sections have shown that the large axon terminals of synaptic glomeruli in the ventrobasal nucleus of the rat are invaginated by spine-like protrusions from the astrocyte processes surrounding the glomeruli (“micro-trophospongium”). The astrocytic protrusions are similar in dimensions and internal morphology to the synapse-bearing dendritic excrescences that also invaginate the large axon terminals. Consequently astrocytic protrusions may be overlooked, or confused with dendritic excrescences sectioned at a non-synaptic level. The intimate neuronal—neuroglial relationship at such large axon terminals may reflect ion-exchange or metabolic interactions between the astrocytes and the axon terminal.


Axon Synapses Astrocytes Thalamus 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Špaček
    • 1
  • A. R. Lieberman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Histology and EmbryologyCharles University Medical FacultyHradec KrálovéCzechoslovakia
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and EmbryologyUniversity CollegeLondonEngland

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