Definition of Reuptake

Reuptake refers to the process by which neurotransmitters are taken back into the axon terminal of a neuron after being released into the synaptic cleft.


Neurotransmitters are chemical substances produced by neurons that allow communication between nerve cells. They transmit signals across synapses, the junctions between neurons.

Synaptic Cleft

The synaptic cleft is the small gap between the axon terminal of one neuron and the dendrites or cell body of another neuron. It is the region where neurotransmitters are released into to transmit signals.

Axon Terminal

The axon terminal is a specialized structure at the end of the axon, which is responsible for releasing neurotransmitters into the synaptic cleft to trigger a response in the target neuron.

Reuptake Process

The reuptake process occurs when released neurotransmitters that are not bound to receptor sites in the postsynaptic neuron are taken back up by the presynaptic neuron. This retrieval prevents an excessive buildup of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft.

Transport Proteins

Transport proteins embedded in the membrane of the presynaptic neuron actively facilitate the reuptake of neurotransmitters. These proteins bind to the neurotransmitters and transport them back into the presynaptic neuron.

Reuptake Inhibitors

Reuptake inhibitors are substances that block the reuptake process, leading to increased levels of neurotransmitters in the synaptic cleft. This can have varied effects on neural communication and is often a target for certain medications.