Acetylcholine Biosynthesis in Developing Cholinergic Synapses

  • E. Giacobini
  • M. Marchi
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 25)


In contrast to in vitro conditions synapse formation in situ represents a long term process (16) consisting of consecutive steps of complex structural and biochemical modifications. On a chronological scale, synaptogenesis occurs not only during part of the embryonic phase but also during the period following birth or hatching. Recent studies have shown that in the avian peripheral nervous system the process of synaptic growth may continue throughout adult life (30). In the present study chick ciliary ganglia and their target organ (the iris) provides a useful model for investigating the process of synapse formation and growth (Fig. 1). For a comparison, the development of synapses in sympathetic ganglia (lumbar) was examined in a parallel study (14). The possibility of examining simultaneously cell bodies and terminals in the same group of cells belonging to a small (3000 cells) and well defined cholinergic population, represents a unique feature of this preparation (18). In this model, changes in biochemical parameters related to acetylcholine (ACh) metabolism can be correlated step by step to neurotransmission and morphology (15).


Ganglion Cell AChE Activity Neural Crest Cell Sympathetic Ganglion Cholinergic Receptor 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Giacobini
    • 1
  • M. Marchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neuropsychopharmacology, Department of Biobehavioral SciencesUniversity of Connecticut StorrsConnecticutUSA

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