A method for preparing highly pure cell nuclei from adult rat brain, using both differential and isopycnic centrifugation in sucrose media, is described. The morphology of these preparations was examined by both phase contrast and electron microscopy. The isolated nuclei retained many aspects of their in situ morphology; in particular, the nuclear envelope was double layered and interrupted by pore-like discontinuities, and the nucleoli consisted of irregular masses of densely packed granules. Analyses of these nuclear preparations for cytochrome oxidase and cholinesterase activity, as well as RNA/DNA ratio, indicated minimal contamination with mitochondria and microsomes. Problems involving the homogenization technique, choice of ionic conditions in the homogenization medium, and choice of optimal density of the sucrose solution used for the final purification of nuclei are discussed. Results of application of the technique to isolation of adult rat liver nuclei are also reported.

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