Stereological and ultrastructural quantification of the afferent synaptome of individual neurons.
Henny P., Brown MTC., Micklem BR., Magill PJ., Bolam JP.
Determining the number and placement of synaptic inputs along the distinct plasma membrane domains of neurons is essential for explaining the basis of neuronal activity and function. We detail a strategy that combines juxtacellular labeling, neuronal reconstructions and stereological sampling of inputs at the ultrastructural level to define key elements of the afferent 'synaptome' of a given neuron. This approach provides unbiased estimates of the total number and somato-dendritic distribution of synapses made with individual neurons. These organizational properties can be related to the activity of the same neurons previously recorded in vivo, for direct structure-function correlations at the single-cell level. The approach also provides the quantitative data required to develop biologically realistic models that simulate and predict neuronal activity and function.