We have labeled recycling synaptic vesicles at the somatic Bufo marinus neuromuscular junction with the styryl dye FM2-10 and provide direct evidence for refractoriness of exocytosis associated with a muscle activity-dependent form of long-term depression (LTD) at this synapse. FM2-10 dye unloading experiments demonstrated that the rate of vesicle exocytosis from the release ready pool (RRP) of vesicles was more than halved in the LTD (induced by 20 min of low frequency stimulation). Recovery from LTD, observed as a partial recovery of nerve-evoked muscle twitch amplitude, was accompanied by partial recovery of the refractoriness of RRP exocytosis. Unexpectedly, paired pulse plasticity, another routinely used indicator of presynaptic forms of synaptic plasticity, was unchanged in the LTD. We conclude that the LTD induces refractoriness of the neuromuscular vesicle release machinery downstream of presynaptic calcium entry. © 2014 Etherington et al.