Improved recovery of highly enriched mitochondrial fractions from small brain tissue samples

Michelle F. Anderson, Neil R. Sims

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    61 Citations (Scopus)


    The investigation of mitochondrial abnormalities in brain commonly requires isolation of these organelles from small tissue samples. We have modified a mitochondrial isolation procedure based on Percoll density gradient centrifugation to increase the proportion of the total mitochondrial pool recovered while reducing contamination with synaptosomes and related structures containing cytoplasm. Initially, myelin was removed by centrifugation in 12% Percoll in isotonic buffer. The pellet was resuspended, treated with digitonin to break up synaptosomes and similar structures and subjected to discontinuous Percoll density gradient centrifugation. The mitochondrial fraction obtained from this procedure was highly metabolically active and well coupled, exhibiting respiratory control ratios above 5. The recovery of mitochondrial markers using a single rat forebrain as starting material was approximately 18% to 21%. When small tissue samples (approximately 50 mg wet weight) were used as starting material the recovery of the mitochondrial marker was approximately 16%. The ratio of recovery of a mitochondrial marker to the cytoplasmic marker lactate dehydrogenase exceeded 200 in preparations from a single rat forebrain. This is substantially greater than values reported for previously published procedures reflecting both an improved yield of mitochondria and a reduction in cytoplasmic contamination. Themes: Other systems of the CNS. Topics: Brain metabolism and blood flow. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-101
    Number of pages7
    JournalBrain Research Protocols
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This research was supported by grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia) and Flinders University. Michelle Anderson is supported by an Australian Research Scholarship from the Australian Research Council.

    Copyright 2007 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


    • Energy metabolism
    • Mitochondria
    • Oxidative phosphorylation
    • Subfractionation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Improved recovery of highly enriched mitochondrial fractions from small brain tissue samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this