Synaptosomes (isolated nerve terminals) have been studied for more than 40 years. The preparation allows aspects of transmitter metabolism and release to be studied ex vivo from specific brain regions of animals of any age. Conditions can be devised to enable the terminals to fire spontaneous action potentials, allowing the presynaptic control of glutamate exocytosis to be studied. Recent developments have greatly increased the sensitivity with which the bioenergetics of the intra-synaptosomal mitochondria can be investigated.

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