A brainwide atlas of synapses across the mouse life span

Science. 2020 Jul 17;369(6501):270-275. doi: 10.1126/science.aba3163. Epub 2020 Jun 11.


Synapses connect neurons together to form the circuits of the brain, and their molecular composition controls innate and learned behavior. We analyzed the molecular and morphological diversity of 5 billion excitatory synapses at single-synapse resolution across the mouse brain from birth to old age. A continuum of changes alters synapse composition in all brain regions across the life span. Expansion in synapse diversity produces differentiation of brain regions until early adulthood, and compositional changes cause dedifferentiation in old age. The spatiotemporal synaptome architecture of the brain potentially accounts for life-span transitions in intellectual ability, memory, and susceptibility to behavioral disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atlases as Topic
  • Brain* / physiology
  • Brain* / ultrastructure
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Longevity
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Synapses* / physiology
  • Synaptosomes / physiology
  • Synaptosomes / ultrastructure