Giant synaptic terminals: Endbulbs and calyces of the auditory system

David K. Ryugo, George A. Spirou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The processing of sound by the brain requires tight coupling between acoustic events and brain activity. Auditory neurons must be capable of responding quickly and with high fidelity. Two pathways in the system rely on giant synaptic terminals to meet their functional demands. Endbulbs of Held and calyces of Held are large terminals that guarantee secure synaptic transmission. Intrinsic membrane properties endow the terminals with fast response and recovery times. Such specializations preserve timing information in the auditory system and allow sounds to be localized and sequences of sounds to be perceived as speech or melodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Curated Reference Collection in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology
PublisherElsevier Science Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780128093245
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Audition
  • Calyx
  • Cochlear nucleus
  • Endbulb
  • Globular bushy cell
  • Glutamate
  • Medial nucleus of the trapezoid body
  • Plasticity
  • Sound localization
  • Spherical bushy cell
  • Synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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