The kinetics of synaptic vesicle pool depletion at CNS synaptic terminals

Neuron. 2004 Mar 25;41(6):943-53. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(04)00113-8.


During sustained action potential (AP) firing at nerve terminals, the rates of endocytosis compared to exocytosis determine how quickly the available synaptic vesicle pool is depleted, in turn influencing presynaptic efficacy. Mechanisms, including rapid kiss-and-run endocytosis as well as local, preferential recycling of docked vesicles, have been proposed as a means to allow endocytosis and recycling to keep up with stimulation. We show here that, for CNS nerve terminals at physiological temperatures, endocytosis is sufficiently fast to avoid vesicle pool depletion during continuous AP firing at 10 Hz. This endocytosis-exocytosis balance persists for turnover of the entire releasable pool of vesicles and allows for efficient escape of FM 4-64, indicating that it is a non-kiss-and-run endocytic event. Thus, under physiological conditions, the sustained speed of vesicle membrane retrieval for the entire releasable pool appears to be sufficiently fast to compensate for exocytosis, avoiding significant vesicle pool depletion during robust synaptic activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Exocytosis / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology*
  • Presynaptic Terminals / ultrastructure
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / physiology*
  • Synaptic Vesicles / ultrastructure
  • Temperature


  • FM 4-64
  • Pyridinium Compounds
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds