Membranes of the astrocytic processes investing small blood vessels and the surface of the brain contain numerous arrays of orthogonally packed particles as revealed by the freeze-fracture technique. The structure of these particle arrays, which we have termed "assemblies," is the same whether tissue is prepared for freeze-fracture by conventional fixation or by quick excision and rapid freezing. However, assemblies are progressively replaced by amorphous clumps and then disappear as the interval between decapitation and rapid freezing increases. Nearly normal numbers of assemblies may be maintained in cerebellar slices in vitro, but there too they disappear at low PO2 or in the presence of dinitrophenol. No other neuronal or glial membrane specialization exhibits a comparable lability.

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