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Abstract

Previously, we showed that cryo fixation of adult mouse brain tissue gave a truer representation of brain ultrastructure in comparison with a standard chemical fixation method (Korogod et al., 2015). Extracellular space matched physiological measurements, there were larger numbers of docked vesicles and less glial coverage of synapses and blood capillaries. Here, using the same preservation approaches, we compared the morphology of dendritic spines. We show that the length of the spine and the volume of its head is unchanged; however, the spine neck width is thinner by more than 30% after cryo fixation. In addition, the weak correlation between spine neck width and head volume seen after chemical fixation was not present in cryo-fixed spines. Our data suggest that spine neck geometry is independent of the spine head volume, with cryo fixation showing enhanced spine head compartmentalization and a higher predicted electrical resistance between spine head and parent dendrite.

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