Subcellular localization of lead in synaptosomes

E. K. Silbergeld, H. S. Adler, J. L. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The neurotoxicology of lead is reported to involve effects on cholinergic and monoaminergic pathways. However, no information is available on the site of action at which lead exerts neurotoxic effects. The technique of x-ray elemental analysis coupled scanning-transmission mode electron microscopy has been applied to study the in vitro interactions of lead with synaptosomes. To minimize possible translocation effects on elemental distribution, isolated synaptosomes were air dried on EM grids; no fixing or staining procedures were used. In such preparations, synaptosomes and intrasynaptosomal mitochondria were distinguishable. Lead was found only in mitochondria in association with Ca and P. Thus, lead appears to enter isolated nerve terminals and to be sequestered in mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-725
Number of pages11
JournalResearch communications in chemical pathology and pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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