Fractions enriched in neuronal and glial cells were obtained from dispersions of whole beef brain and rabbit cerebral cortex by large-scale density gradient centrifugation procedures. The fractions were characterized by appropriate microscopic observation. Mitochondria were then isolated from these fractions by differential centrifugation of their homogenates. The two different types of mitochondria were characterized with respect to certain enzyme activities, respiratory rate, rate of protein synthesis, and their buoyant density in sucrose gradients. The mitochondria from the neuron-enriched fraction were distinguished by a higher rate of incorporation of amino acids into protein, higher cytochrome oxidase activity, and a higher buoyant density in sucrose density gradients. Mitochondria from the glia-enriched fraction showed relatively high monoamine oxidase and Na+- and K+-stimulated ATPase activities. The rates of oxidation of various substrates and the acceptor control ratios did not differ appreciably between the two types of mitochondria. The difference in the buoyant density of mitochondria isolated from the neuron-enriched and glia-enriched cell fractions was utilized in attempts to separate neuronal and glial mitochondria from the mixed mitochondria obtained from whole brain homogenates in shallow sucrose gradients. The appearance of two peaks of cytochrome oxidase, monoamine oxidase, and protein concentration in such gradients shows the potential feasibility of such an approach.

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