The localization of cholinergic receptors in brain synaptosomes and in synapses of the midbrain reticular formation and hypothalamic preoptic nucleus has been demonstrated by means of a horseradish peroxidase-alpha-bungarotoxin (HRP-alpha-Btx) conjugate. Only a small proportion of the total number of synapses was reactive. Axon terminals of reactive synapses contained primarily small clear vesicles, while synapses characterized by large numbers of dense core vesicles were unreactive. Toxin-binding sites were found to occur in a thickened zone of the postsynaptic surface. This procedure can be employed to study the regional distribution and localization of nicotinic receptor sites in the central nervous system.
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