Electrochemistry of Single-Vesicle Events
Review article, 2020

Neuronal transmission relies on electrical signals and the transfer of chemical signals from one neuron to another. Chemical messages are transmitted from presynaptic neurons to neighboring neurons through the triggered fusion of neurotransmitter-filled vesicles with the cell plasma membrane. This process, known as exocytosis, involves the rapid release of neurotransmitter solutions that are detected with high affinity by the postsynaptic neuron. The type and number of neurotransmitters released and the frequency of vesicular events govern brain functions such as cognition, decision making, learning, and memory. Therefore, to understand neurotransmitters and neuronal function, analytical tools capable of quantitative and chemically selective detection of neurotransmitters with high spatiotemporal resolution are needed. Electrochemistry offers powerful techniques that are sufficiently rapid to allow for the detection of exocytosis activity and provides quantitative measurements of vesicle neurotransmitter content and neurotransmitter release from individual vesicle events. In this review, we provide an overview of the most commonly used electrochemical methods for monitoring single-vesicle events, including recent developments and what is needed for future research.

multielectrode array



quantal size




Jacqueline Keighron

New York Institute of Technology

Yuanmo Wang

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Ann-Sofie Cans

Chalmers, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry

1936-1327 (ISSN) 1936-1335 (eISSN)

Vol. 13 159-181

Subject Categories


Biomedical Laboratory Science/Technology

Bioinformatics (Computational Biology)





More information

Latest update