Minireview: pH and synaptic transmission

FEBS Lett. 2013 Jun 27;587(13):1923-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2013.04.045. Epub 2013 May 10.


As a general rule a rise in pH increases neuronal activity, whereas it is dampened by a fall of pH. Neuronal activity per se also challenges pH homeostasis by the increase of metabolic acid equivalents. Moreover, the negative membrane potential of neurons promotes the intracellular accumulation of protons. Synaptic key players such as glutamate receptors or voltage-gated calcium channels show strong pH dependence and effects of pH gradients on synaptic processes are well known. However, the processes and mechanisms that allow controlling the pH in synaptic structures and how these mechanisms contribute to normal synaptic function are only beginning to be resolved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium
  • Animals
  • Bicarbonates / metabolism
  • Carbonic Anhydrases / physiology
  • Humans
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Bicarbonates
  • Carbonic Anhydrases