PMID: 10495878Sep 25, 1999Paper

Three-dimensional structure of the synaptic contact of the neuromuscular junction in the rat lumbrical muscle

Archives of Histology and Cytology
A SohnT Inoué


This study examined the three-dimensional structures of the synaptic contact in rat lumbrical muscles by scanning electron microscopy using three different methods: the aldehyde prefix-osmium-dimethyl sulfoxide-osmium method (A-O-D-O method), the cell-extraction method, and the NaOH-digestion method. These three methods visualized the motor nerve endings, subneural basal lamina and postsynaptic sarcolemma, respectively. The motor nerve endings were composed of a cluster of spherical and cylindrical terminals. Pores on the presynaptic membrane were considered openings of exocytotic vesicles. The postsynaptic side of the subneural basal lamina showed numerous ridges, corresponding to junctional folds. Most of the ridges rose vertically from their base. The ridges showed widening, narrowing, and branching. The subneural basal lamina appeared to be composed of small granular substances. The basal lamina of the primary synaptic clefts had pores 25-30 nm in diameter, which may facilitate the transport of acetylcholine (ACh) without being hydrolyzed by ACh esterase in the lamina. On the outer surface of the postsynaptic sarcolemma in a sole plate, the primary synaptic clefts were composed of a mixture of depressions and gutters; so fa...Continue Reading


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