Deterioration threshold of synaptic morphology in aging and senile dementia of Alzheimer's type

Carlo Bertoni-Freddari, Patrizia Fattoretti, Tiziana Casoli, Ugo Caselli, William Meier-Ruge

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54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To search for a deterioration threshold of synaptic ultrastructure in physiologic aging and senile dementia of Alzheimer's type (SDAT). STUDY DESIGN: The numerical density (Nv), average area (S) and surface density (Sv) of the synaptic contact zones were investigated in the hippocampus and cerebellum from adults, elderly and SDAT patients by means of computer-assisted morphometry. RESULTS: The Nv and surface Sv densities of the synapses decreased while the size of S enlarged in elderly and SDAT patients vs. the adults. By plotting Nv vs. S, the adult group showed a very high percentage of small junctions. In contrast, elderly and dementia patients demonstrated two overlapping populations of enlarged contacts. In SDAT the synapse-to-neuron ratio was decreased by 48% in the hippocampus and by 56% in the cerebellum. CONCLUSION: Our findings support the concept that the degeneration of synaptic contacts per se should be considered a crucial step in the progression of senile dementia, but the identification of a discrete deterioration threshold of synaptic morphology between aging and SDAT is not feasible at present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
JournalAnalytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology
Volume18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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Alzheimer Disease
Synapses
Cerebellum
Hippocampus
Dementia
Neurons
Population

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • synapses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Deterioration threshold of synaptic morphology in aging and senile dementia of Alzheimer's type. / Bertoni-Freddari, Carlo; Fattoretti, Patrizia; Casoli, Tiziana; Caselli, Ugo; Meier-Ruge, William.

In: Analytical and Quantitative Cytology and Histology, Vol. 18, No. 3, 1996, p. 209-213.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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