Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 447, Issue 3, pp 363–370

Mitochondria and release at hippocampal synapses

Synaptic Transmission


Mitochondria are present in some, but not all presynaptic terminals in the hippocampus. Mitochondria are capable of sequestering and storing large amounts of calcium, but it is unclear whether they influence release probability at these synapses. Using FM dye imaging techniques and confocal microscopy, we have examined the relationship between mitochondrial presence/absence and presynaptic vesicle release from rat hippocampal neurones in primary dissociated culture at room temperature. Following staining with the mitochondrial dye mitotracker green, we were able to resolve putative individual mitochondria associated with neuronal processes. The majority of mitochondria were positionally stable, although some exhibited periods of rapid motility (up to 0.4 μm/s) interspersed with periods of immobility. Co-staining with mitotracker green and the synaptic vesicle dye FM 4–64 indicated that 180 of 506 (36%) synapses were devoid of mitochondria. A comparison of vesicular release in response to stimulation at 1 Hz and at 10 Hz revealed no differences in release properties between synapses with and without mitochondria.


Calcium FM 1–43 Mitochondrion Release probability Synapse 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Beckman CenterStanford Medical SchoolStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Abteilung ZellphysiologieMax-Planck-Institut für medizinische ForschungHeidelbergGermany

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