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Previous studies have indicated that the appearance of synaptic vesicle-associated proteins known as the synapsins is one indicator of synapse formation. In this study, the levels and morphological distribution of synapsin I and synapsin IIa and IIb were studied in intraocular hippocampal transplants and in situ in the intact hippocampus. No detectable levels of either synapsin I or synapsin II were found in the fetal brain. The in situ levels of the synapsins exhibited parallel increases rapidly after birth, reaching peak levels at 8 weeks, after which a slight decline was noted in synapsin I and synapsin IIb. In hippocampal transplants, a comparable increase in the synapsins was seen during the first 8 weeks in oculo. It is likely that the synapse formation in the hippocampal transplants represents synapses from neurons within the transplant, as well as from various peripheral ganglia that send collaterals into the graft. Peripheral and central synapses express different synapsin I: synapsin IIa and IIb ratios. When the ratios of the synapsin proteins in hippocampal transplants were examined ratios essentially identical to those seen in the normal hippocampus were found, despite the numerous peripheral neurites innervating the grafts. Immunohistochemical studies supported the immunoblot data, showing no detectable immunofluorescence with synapsin antibodies in fetal or newborn hippocampal formation. The density of immunoreactive profiles increased substantially both in transplants and in the hippocampal formation in situ during the first 2 postnatal months. In conclusion, the present data demonstrate that hippocampal transplants in oculo can develop significant levels of the synapsins and that there is no time lag in development in these levels compared to the hippocampal formation in situ.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





339 - 347


Animals, Brain Tissue Transplantation, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Embryo, Mammalian, Eye, Fetal Tissue Transplantation, Ganglia, Sympathetic, Hippocampus, Immunoblotting, Immunohistochemistry, Iris, Kinetics, Molecular Weight, Pyramidal Tracts, Rats, Synapsins, Time Factors, Transplantation, Heterotopic, Trigeminal Ganglion