Sertel SM, Blumenstein W, Mandad S, Shomroni O, Salinas G, Rizzoli SO
Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 30;11(1):17374.
A strong focus on sex-related differences has arisen recently in neurobiology, but most investigations focus on brain function in vivo, ignoring common experimental models like cultured neurons. A few studies have addressed morphological differences between male and female neurons in culture, but very few works focused on functional aspects, and especially on presynaptic function. To fill this gap, we studied here functional parameters of synaptic vesicle recycling in hippocampal cultures from male and female rats, which are a standard model system for many laboratories. We found that, although the total vesicle pools are similar, the recycling pool of male synapses was larger, and was more frequently used. This was in line with the observation that the male synapses engaged in stronger local translation. Nevertheless, the general network activity of the neurons was similar, and only small differences could be found when stimulating the cultures. We also found only limited differences in several other assays. We conclude that, albeit these cultures are similar in behavior, future studies of synapse behavior in culture should take the sex of the animals into account.