The structure of the end-plate regions of normal and dystrophic 3-month-old mice were studied by scanning electron microscopy after the presynaptic terminals were removed by hydrochloric acid treatment. Quantitative analysis revealed that the end-plate area correlated positively with the muscle fiber diameter in both the normal and dystrophic animals. However, the motor end-plate area was significantly smaller in the dystrophic mice. The total length of the primary cleft of an end-plate correlated positively with the end-plate area and with the muscle fiber diameter in both normal and dystrophic mice. However, the total length of the primary cleft of an end-plate was significantly shorter in dystrophic mice, especially in large-diameter muscle fibers. Finally, the end-plate of dystrophic mice was characterized by shorter primary clefts with less branching points. These changes of several morphometric characteristics of the postsynaptic membrane suggest that the functional denervation of the mouse dystrophic neuromuscular junction has a postsynaptic origin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience