Preparation of synaptic vesicles from mammalian brain

Johannes W Hell, Reinhard Jahn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter describes procedures for preparing synaptic vesicles from mammalian brain. Synaptic vesicles possess several remarkable properties that distinguish them from most other organelles involved in membrane traffic. First, they are very abundant in brain tissue. Synaptic vesicles are highly homogeneous in size and shape and, in addition, are smaller than most other organelles, with an average diameter of only 50 nm. Therefore, size-fractionation techniques can be applied for the isolation of synaptic vesicles. The procedure for preparing synaptic vesicles from frozen brain starts with a harsh homogenization of frozen brains to efficiently break up the nerve terminals, thus releasing synaptic vesicles. Frozen brains are ground in a pre-cooled mortar to yield a fine powder. To create a tissue powder, place the frozen brains in a porcelain mortar pre-cooled with liquid nitrogen. Cover them with cheesecloth and break them carefully using a porcelain pestle. Synaptic vesicle membranes are identified by their very uniform appearance. © 2006

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCell Biology, Four-Volume Set
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780121647308
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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