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Independent development of presynaptic specializations in olfactory cortex of the fetal rat

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Electron microscopy was used to study synaptogenesis in prepyriform cortex of fetal rat pups during early stages of synapse formation. Of special interest is the frequent occurrence of unapposed, developing synaptic specializations in axon and growth cone profiles. The location and morphology of the unapposed specializations suggests that thay are presynaptic in nature. These presumably immature presynaptic specializations are found in the lateral olfactory tract and subjacent cortex. Intermediate forms between uncontacted presynaptic specializations and definitive synapses suggest a synaptogenic sequence in which initial development of an immature presynaptic specialization begins without apposition of a postsynaptic element at that location. This implies that initiation of presynaptic development is not dependent upon postsynaptic contact and also raises the question of whether synaptic contacts could be established via presynaptic induction of postsynaptic formation.

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Author information

Correspondence to Helen Newman-Gage.

Additional information

Dr. Westrum is an Affiliate of the CDMRC at the University of Washington. The research was supported in part by NIH Grants NS09678, NS17111 (NINCDS), and DE04942 (NIDR), DHHS

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Newman-Gage, H., Westrum, L.E. Independent development of presynaptic specializations in olfactory cortex of the fetal rat. Cell Tissue Res. 237, 103–109 (1984).

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Key words

  • Synapses
  • Synaptogenesis
  • Development fetal
  • Olfactory cortex
  • Rat