Effects of sensory deprivation on the development of asymmetrical synapses in mouse barrels

Y. Sadaka, D. L. Lev, L. Weinfeld, E. L. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Alterations in the numerical density and structure of asymmetrical synapses were examined in thin sections through barrel D4 in six CD/1 mice, including three controls and three sensory deprived animals. Sensory deprivation was effected by once daily trimming of all large mystacial vibrissae on the contralateral side of the snout from P0. The mice were perfuse-fixed at P20, several days following the termination of rapid synaptic growth during barrel development (White et al., Somatosens Mot Res 14: 34-55, 1997). Cerebral hemispheres contralateral to the deprived side were osmicated, sectioned at 40 μm and embedded in plastic for thin sectioning. Sterio's (J Microsc 134: 127-136, 1984) procedure combined with serial thin section analysis (Braendgaard and Gundersen, J Neurosci Meth 18: 39-78, 1986), was applied blindly to systematic random samples of neuropil in barrel hollows and septa. No significant difference in the numerical density, estimated total number, or in the proportion of perforated postsynaptic densities was observed. However, a significant decrease in the diameters of asymmetrical postsynaptic densities was observed in hollow (P<0.05) and septal (P<0.05) neuropil of deprived animals. These results demonstrate a significant morphological alteration in asymmetrical synapses of a type consistent with a reduction in synaptic activity consequent to sensory deprivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalSomatosensory and Motor Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2000


  • Barrel
  • Deprivation
  • Development
  • Plasticity
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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