The synaptosome as a model system for studying synaptic physiology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alongside rodent brain slices and primary neuronal cultures, synaptosomes (isolated nerve terminals) have been an important model system for studying the molecular mechanisms of synaptic function in the brain. Synaptosomes were first prepared in the late 1950s by Whittaker and colleagues and were instrumental in studying synaptic structure and defining the functional components of the synapse, including the identity of the major neurotransmitters and their uptake mechanisms. Synaptosomes can also be stimulated to release neurotransmitters and were used to discover a number of regulatory signaling pathways that fine-tune synaptic transmission. In the past decade, landmark proteomic studies of synaptosomes and synaptic vesicle preparations have further dissected the protein composition of the synapse. This introduction briefly describes the history of the synaptosome preparation and highlights how it continues to be relevant as our focus in the neuroscience community centers on synaptic dysfunction in aging and neurological disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-424
JournalCold Spring Harbor protocols
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Cite this