In devising a new procedure for the isolation of Golgi fractions from rat liver homogenates, we have taken advantage of the overloading with very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) particles that occurs in the Golgi elements of hepatocytes ∼90 min after ethanol is administered (0.6 g/100 g body weight) by stomach tube to the animals. The VLDLs act as morphological markers as well as density modifiers of these elements. The starting preparation is a total microsomal fraction prepared from liver homogenized (1:5) in 0.25 M sucrose. This fraction is resuspended in 1.15 M sucrose and loaded at the bottom of a discontinuous sucrose density gradient. Centrifugation at ∼13 x 106 g·min yields by flotation three Golgi fractions of density >1.041 and <1.173. The light and intermediate fractions consist essentially of VLDL-loaded Golgi vacuoles and cisternae. Nearly empty, often collapsed, Golgi cisternae are the main component of the heavy fraction. A procedure which subjects the Golgi fractions to hypotonic shock and shearing in a French press at pH 8.5 allows the extraction of the content of the Golgi elements and the subsequent isolation of their membranes by differential centrifugation.

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