Synaptosome as a tool in Alzheimer's disease research

Brain Res. 2020 Nov 1;1746:147009. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2020.147009. Epub 2020 Jul 10.


Synapse dysfunction is an integral feature of Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathophysiology. In fact, prodromal manifestation of structural and functional deficits in synapses much prior to appearance of overt pathological hallmarks of the disease indicates that AD might be considered as a degenerative disorder of the synapses. Several research instruments and techniques have allowed us to study synaptic function and plasticity and their alterations in pathological conditions, such as AD. One such tool is the biochemically isolated preparations of detached and resealed synaptic terminals, the "synaptosomes". Because of the preservation of many of the physiological processes such as metabolic and enzymatic activities, synaptosomes have proved to be an indispensable ex vivo model system to study synapse physiology both when isolated from fresh or cryopreserved tissues, and from animal or human post-mortem tissues. This model system has been tremendously successful in the case of post-mortem tissues because of their accessibility relative to acute brain slices or cultures. The current review details the use of synaptosomes in AD research and its potential as a valuable tool in furthering our understanding of the pathogenesis and in devising and testing of therapeutic strategies for the disease.

Keywords: Amyloid; Oxidative stress; Protein translation; Synaptoneurosomes; Tauopathy; Therapeutic.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Synaptosomes*