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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 1 - Cells Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Section 6 - Nervous Tissue

Plate 6.91 The Synapse

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed

Spinal cord, Lower motor neuron

Plate 6.91 The Synapse

Rhesus monkey, 10% formalin, Glees' method, 1416 x.

Axon: Preterminal portion before establishing contact.

Dendrite: Stout branching process.

Axodendritic synapse: Synaptic knob (also called bouton) arising from an axon that is in contact with a dendritic process. The synaptic knob or axon terminal swelling is actually a sac containing minute vesicles and mitochondria and not a loop or ring as seen in preparations of this type.

Axosomatic synapse: Axon terminal knob in contact with the cell body or perikaryon of the motor neuron.

Perikaryon or Soma: These are multipolar and are studded with terminal knobs. Variation of fine focus in such preparations will reveal the richness of synaptic terminals. The synaptic knobs seen in this photomicrograph represent only a minute fraction of the total synaptic terminals. It has been estimated that as many as 1200 to 1800 synaptic knobs may establish contact with one spinal motor neuron.

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