The effect of glutathione depletion on the viability of freshly isolated synaptosomes from whole brain was investigated in young and aged mice. Aging did not influence the GSH and ATP levels and the viability of these synaptosomes. However depletion of glutathione caused by the cytosolic glutathione inhibitor diethyl maleate (1 mM) resulted in a significant decline, after 60 min of incubation, in ATP levels and viability in the synaptosomes from aged mice but not in those from young mice. When synaptosomes were incubated in the presence of the mitochondrial glutathione inhibitor ethacrynic acid (0.2 mM) there was a similar decline in glutathione, ATP levels and synaptosomal viability, both in young and aged mice. These results emphasize the relative importance of the cytosolic glutathione pool for the maintenance of the plasma membrane integrity in synaptosomes from aged mice.