Infographic: A New Model of Synapse Strength

Synapses in the mouse neocortex can release multiple packages of neurotransmitters, suggesting that connection strength is more flexible than previously thought.

Asher Jones
Mar 24, 2021

By monitoring changes in voltage (graphs) in individual neurons in the mouse neocortex, researchers measured the strength of connections between a presynaptic neuron’s axon terminal (purple) and the postsynaptic neuron’s dendrite (beige). In contrast to the widely accepted notion that neocortical synapses can only release one neurotransmitter-filled vesicle per firing, the research team found evidence that multiple vesicles can be released at these synapses, indicating that their strength is more plastic than previously appreciated. The researchers also confirmed the widely held assumption that physically larger synapses are stronger.

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