Morphological effects of osmolarity on purified noradrenergic vesicles

A. Thureson Klein, R. L. Klein, S. H C Yen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Large dense core vesicles (LDV) were purified from bovine splenic nerve homogenates by the sucrose D2O density gradient method. Vesicles were subjected to a 50% increase and decrease in osmolarity from the control 330 mosmol/l by adjusting sucrose or potassium phosphate buffer during pre and/or postfixation. Control vesicles with a mean diameter of 717 Å readily swelled to 1050 Å and shrunk to 600 Å in the hypotonic and hypertonic media, respectively, with either sucrose or phosphate buffer. The dense core responded similarly but to a lesser degree. Prefixation in glutaraldehyde had little effect on vesicle sensitivity to subsequent tonicity change, nor did the fixative per se exert an obvious osmotic effect. Thus, final vesicle size was largely determined by the OsO4 postfixation medium and principally by the vehicle rather than the fixative. In controls there was a mixture of spherical to oblate vesicles mostly filled with an electron dense matrix. Upon swelling, more vesicles became spherical and nearly all had a prominent translucent halo between core and membrane. Upon shrinking, more vesicles became oblate, the halo was obliterated and the electron density of the matrix increased. Frequency distributions of vesicle diameters at different tonicity clearly indicated that the diameter of LDV could overlap the 400 to 500 Å range characteristic of small dense core vesicles; however, there was no suggestion of a population of the latter in the purified LDV fraction. Implications are discussed concerning the biochemical and morphological identification of 'light' and 'heavy' density peaks of noradrenaline and dopamine β hydroxylase from mixed vescile populations and the possible relevance of changes in vesicle shape to a functional state in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-627
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neurocytology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Morphological effects of osmolarity on purified noradrenergic vesicles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this