Spine Apparatus - Relevance To Disease

Relevance To Disease

Recent evidence suggests that structural changes in the spine apparatus may be linked to brain disorders. When parkinsonian symptoms were induced in monkeys via treatment with MPTP, alterations in morphology were observed, including an increase in the ratio of spine apparatus volume to spine volume. Abnormal spine apparatus morphology has also been noted in peritumorous and edematous tissues of the human brain, and these changes in structure may result in compromised or altered function.

Much has yet to be discovered about the role of the spine apparatus in brain disease; the specific effects of changes in SA morphology remain a topic of study. Scientists are hopeful that serial section electron microscopy (ssEM), a high resolution technique that can be used to visualize dendritic spines and their intracellular components, will allow for a greater understanding of the relationship between alterations in SA structure and disease pathology.

Alterations to the morphology of the spine apparatus have also been observed in rats exposed to chronic levels of ethanol. Atrophied spine apparatuses were observed in these animals, as well as in anesthetized animals. The exact mechanisms involved in the size reduction and atrophy of the spine apparatus are unknown, but it is thought that these mechanisms may contribute to changes in LTP and behavior.

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