Determining the number and placement of synaptic inputs along the distinct plasma membrane domains of neurons is essential for explaining the basis of neuronal activity and function. We detail a strategy that combines juxtacellular labeling, neuronal reconstructions and stereological sampling of inputs at the ultrastructural level to define key elements of the afferent 'synaptome' of a given neuron. This approach provides unbiased estimates of the total number and somato-dendritic distribution of synapses made with individual neurons. These organizational properties can be related to the activity of the same neurons previously recorded in vivo, for direct structure-function correlations at the single-cell level. The approach also provides the quantitative data required to develop biologically realistic models that simulate and predict neuronal activity and function. © 2013 The Author(s).
Brain Structure and Function
631 - 640