Elements of Chemical Synapses

When the two synaptic elements are both parts of neurons (dendrites, somata, axons), several combinations are possible, with terms to match. Thus, axoden-dritic, axosomatic, and axoaxonic synapses are recognized. These three arrangements are the "conventional'' ones dominating the field until the late 1950s.

"Unconventional" synapses (Fig. 30) were then uncovered: dendrodendritic synapses are the best known, but dendroaxonic, somatosomatic, soma-toaxonic, and axoaxodendritic (serial junctions) are described. Yet the most arresting ones are glomeruli, which are clusters of axons and dendrites (Fig. 17). These neuronal microcosms illustrate Charles Sherrington's key principles of divergence and convergence.



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