Synaptic Plasticity

Synaptic Plasticity

Synaptic plasticity refers to the variability and modifiability of synapses in terms of structure and function at the morphologic interface, which is the neurobiological basis for the growth and development of the nervous system, nerve injury and repair, learning, as well as memory. Studies have demonstrated that many pathological or physiological processes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, Alzheimer's disease, and learning memory involve changes in synaptic plasticity. Combining biophysical measurements with electrophysiological techniques such as membrane clamp, researchers can provide a broader platform for the study of synaptic plasticity by observing the phenomenon of long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic function.

CD BioSciences boasts cutting-edge technology platforms and equipment, incorporating a wealth of experience in the field of biophysical analysis. We are committed to research in neuroscience, focusing on synaptic plasticity and accelerating the exploration of mechanisms involved in neurological diseases.

Synaptic Plasticity

Observation of Synaptic Structure

Structural plasticity of synapses is an important mechanism for sustaining long-term changes in the brain through learning and experience. In recent years, the use of electron microscopy has improved researchers' understanding of the magnitude and extent of structural plasticity at nanoscale resolution. In particular, sequential slice electron microscopy (ssEM) can accurately measure plasticity-related changes in synapse size and density as well as in the distribution of key cellular structures (polysomes, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and synaptic vesicles). Electron microscopy can observe subtle changes in structures such as presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes as well as synaptic gaps. Changes in these structures are closely related to synaptic plasticity, such as the number, size, and distribution of synaptic vesicles, as well as the morphology and composition of postsynaptic dense substance (PSD).

Analysis of Synaptic Interfaces

PSD contains various receptors, signaling proteins, scaffolding proteins, and cytoskeletal proteins, which play roles in cell signaling, cytoskeletal anchoring, receptor transport, and activation of downstream specific signaling pathways through intermolecular dynamic binding when stimulated with extracellular signals, thus affecting nerve conduction function and playing an important role in synaptic plasticity, learning memory, and neurological function impairment. Electron microscopy can observe and analyze the structure and composition of the synaptic interface (the contact region between the presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes). Changes in the synaptic interface are closely related to the plasticity of synaptic transmission, such as the increase or decrease in the area of the synaptic interface, as well as the distribution and amount of synaptic interface proteins.

Real-Time Monitoring of Synaptic Plasticity Process

Combining advanced electron microscopy and image processing techniques, the changes in synaptic structure during synaptic plasticity can be monitored in real-time. For example, dynamic processes such as the release of synaptic vesicles, endocytosis, and exocytosis of postsynaptic membrane receptors can be observed through time-series electron microscopy images.

Localization and Quantitative Analysis of Synaptic Plasticity-Related Proteins

A series of synaptic plasticity-related proteins, such as nerve growth-associated protein (GAP-43), neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), and synaptophysin, can be localized and quantitatively analyzed by immunoelectron microscopy. These proteins have the functions of promoting synaptic plasticity and maintaining synaptic structure, whose changes in expression and distribution can reflect the state or regulatory mechanism of synaptic plasticity.

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