Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) has been implicated in several cellular processes including signaling, transport, lipid membrane curvature, and several neurodegenerative disorders. Vitamin E imaging has been hindered by the inaccessibility of the molecule to traditional immunohistochemical methods. Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), the distribution of major constituents in the cellular membrane of isolated neurons was investigated. There is a significant increase in the vitamin E signal at the soma-neurite junction compared to the cell as a whole (165 +/- 11% of that found across the cell, p = 0.004, n = 12). The observed membrane distribution suggests an important new role for vitamin E in neuronal function.