Synaptosomes are detached, sealed presynaptic nerve terminals, often with portions of the postsynaptic membrane still attached. They are formed from the clublike axodendritic and axosomatic nerve terminals of brain tissue in 70–100% yield when this is homogenized under conditions of moderate liquid shear in isosmotic sucrose.1–3 They retain most of the structural and functional characteristics of the nerve terminals from which they are derived. In peripheral tissues, however, with the partial exception of retina and autonomic ganglia, the mechanical conditions that favor synaptosome formation in brain tissue are not adequately met, and yields of synaptosomes are low or negligible. Even when formed, they may represent only a portion of the nerve terminal and may retain only part of the terminal cytoplasm, resulting in defective function.


Synaptic Vesicle Nerve Terminal Choline Acetyltransferase Osmotic Dehydration Synaptosome Fraction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. P. Whittaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung NeurochemieMax-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische ChemieGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany

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