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Age-related fragmentation of the motor endplate is not associated with impaired neuromuscular transmission in the mouse disaphragm

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Clarke Slater



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


As mammals age, their neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) gradually change their form, acquiring an increasingly fragmented appearance consisting of numerous isolated regions of synaptic differentiation. It has been suggested that this remodelling is associated with impairment of neuromuscular transmission, and that this contributes to age-related muscle weakness in mammals, including humans. The underlying hypothesis, that increasing NMJ fragmentation is associated with impaired transmission, has never been directly tested. Here, by comparing the structure and function of individual NMJs, we show that neuromuscular transmission at the most highly fragmented NMJs in the diaphragms of old (26-28 months) mice is, if anything, stronger than in middle-aged (12-14 months) mice. We suggest that NMJ fragmentation per se is not a reliable indicator of impaired neuromuscular transmission.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Willadt S, Nash M, Slater CR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2016

Volume: 6

Online publication date: 20/04/2016

Acceptance date: 05/04/2016

Date deposited: 20/05/2016

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publications Group


DOI: 10.1038/srep24849


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