Bitemporal intracerebral injections of puromycin in mice suppress indefinitely expression of memory of avoidance-discrimination learning. Ultrastructural studies of the entorhinal cortex of puromycin-treated mice revealed the following: (a) Abnormalities were not observed in presynaptic terminals and synaptic clefts; many postsynaptic dendrites or somas contained swollen mitochondria. (b) Dispersion of polyribosomes into single units or condensation of ribosomes into irregular aggregates with loss of "distinctiveness" was noted in a few neurons 7–27 hr after puromycin treatment. (c) Cytoplasmic aggregates of granular or amorphous material were frequently noted within otherwise normal neuronal perikarya. (d) Mitochondria in many neuronal perikarya and dendrites were swollen. Mitochondria in axons, presynaptic terminals, and glial cells were unaltered. The relationships between these lesions and the effect of puromycin on protein synthesis and memory are examined. It is suggested that the disaggregation of polysomes is too limited to explain the effect of puromycin on memory. Special emphasis is given to the swelling of mitochondria. The possible mechanisms and the significance of this lesion are discussed.

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