Visualization of neuromuscular junctions over periods of several months in living mice.
Identified neuromuscular junctions were followed in the sternomastoid muscle of living mice for several months by repeated staining with the fluorescent dye 4-(4-diethylaminostyryl)-N-methylpyridinium iodide (4-Di-2-ASP; Magrassi et al., 1987). Overall terminal growth occurred at many endplates; however, the branching pattern of presynaptic arbors was largely unchanged, even after several months. The absence of significant remodeling over time was not a result of dye-staining, since sprouting was readily induced at residual motor endings by partial denervation. We conclude that--apart from overall growth--most neuromuscular junctions in the adult mouse are stable over intervals that represent a significant fraction of the animal's lifetime.
Lichtman, JW; Magrassi, L; Purves, D
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