We tested the hypothesis that expression of pre-synaptic voltage-gated sodium channel (Na(v)) subtypes coupled to neurotransmitter release differs between transmitter types and CNS regions in a nerve terminal-specific manner. Na(v) coupling to transmitter release was determined by measuring the sensitivity of 4-aminopyridine (4AP)-evoked [(3)H]glutamate and [(14)C]GABA release to the specific Na(v) blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX) for nerve terminals isolated from rat cerebral cortex, hippocampus, striatum and spinal cord. Expression of various Na(v) subtypes was measured by immunoblotting using subtype-specific antibodies. Potencies of TTX for inhibition of glutamate and GABA release varied between CNS regions. However, the efficacies of TTX for inhibition of 4AP-evoked glutamate release were greater than for inhibition of GABA release in all regions except spinal cord. The relative nerve terminal expression of total Na(v) subtypes as well as of specific subtypes varied considerably between CNS regions. The region-specific potencies of TTX for inhibition of 4AP-evoked glutamate release correlated with greater relative expression of total nerve terminal Na(v) and Na(v)1.2. Nerve terminal-specific differences in the expression of specific Na(v) subtypes contribute to transmitter-specific and regional differences in pharmacological sensitivities of transmitter release.