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3D Analysis of the Synaptic Organization in the Entorhinal Cortex in Alzheimer's Disease

AuthorsDomínguez-Álvaro, M.; Montero-Crespo, M.; Blázquez-Llorca, Lidia CSIC ORCID; Plaza-Alonso, S; Cano-Astorga, Nicolás; DeFelipe, Javier; Alonso-Nanclares, Lidia CSIC ORCID
electron microscopy
medial temporal lobe
postsynaptic targets
Issue Date2021
PublisherSociety for Neuroscience
CitationeNeuro 8 (2021)
AbstractThe entorhinal cortex (EC) is especially vulnerable in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In particular, cognitive deficits have been linked to alterations in the upper layers of EC. In the present report, we examined Layers II and III from eight human brain autopsies (four subjects with no recorded neurologic alterations and four AD cases). We used stereological methods to assess cortical atrophy of the EC and possible changes in the volume occupied by different cortical elements (neuronal and glial cell bodies; blood vessels; and neuropil). We performed 3D ultrastructural analyses of synapses using focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy (FIB/SEM) to examine possible alterations related to AD. At the light microscope level, we found a significantly lower volume fraction occupied by neuronal bodies in Layer III and a higher volume fraction occupied by glial cell bodies in Layer II in AD cases. At the ultrastructural level, we observed that (1) there was a significantly lower synaptic density in both layers in AD cases; (2) synapses were larger and more complex in Layer II in AD cases; and (3) there was a greater proportion of small and simple synapses in Layer III in AD cases than in control individuals. These structural differences may play a role in the anatomic basis for the impairment of cognitive functions in AD.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0504-20.2021
Identifiersdoi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0504-20.2021
issn: 2373-2822
Appears in Collections:(IC) Artículos
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