Synapsin I and Synaptophysin are selectively localized in axonal endings of CNS neurons where they are associated with small synaptic vesicle membranes. The development of expression of these 2 proteins was studied by immunocytochemistry during ontogenesis of the peripheral vestibular system in the mouse. Both proteins are localized in vestibular ganglion neurons and in their peripheral sensory extensions as early as gestational day 14. While the entire periphery of these fibers is labeled during embryogenesis, both proteins are subject to relocation during the postnatal maturation of these fibers. In the mature vestibular receptors they disappear from the fibers themselves but are found concentrated in their intraepithelial endings and in the neuronal cell body. These observations show that the distribution pattern of Synapsin I and Synaptophysin in peripheral extensions of vestibular afferent neurons during development is identical to that described in axonal processes of CNS neurons. This suggests that the peripheral processes of the vestibular afferent neurons present structural and biochemical characteristics of axons. These characteristics are consistent with a bimodal sensory and secretory function of mature endings.