Synaptic reorganization induced by selective photoablation of an identified neuron

A. Mizrahi, F. Libersat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The maintenance of synaptic strength and specificity in the CNS may depend on interactions among postsynaptic dendrites. We examined the effect of removing a neuron on synaptic organization. A single identified postsynaptic neuron in the adult cercal system of the cockroach was removed with photoablation. After a 30 d recovery period, the synaptic connectivity and morphology of the intact presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons were analyzed. The synaptic connectivity was reorganized in a manner that was consistent with functional plasticity. To associate anatomical changes with this reorganization, we analyzed the morphology of the presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons by quantitative morphometry. Both presynaptic and intact postsynaptic neurons maintained a stable morphology after removal of a neighboring postsynaptic neuron. Using the Hausdorff Match method (HM) (Mizrahi et al. 2000), we found that the spatial organization of the intact dendritic and axonal trees after ablation of a postsynaptic neuron remained stable. Thus, interactions with neighboring neurons were not necessary for maintaining dendritic morphology in the adult nervous system. However, adult central synapses were capable of adjusting to maintain normal function.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9280-9290
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendrites
  • Hausdorff match
  • Insect
  • Photoablation
  • Plasticity
  • Quantitative morphology


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