Vitamin E imaging and localization in the neuronal membrane

J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Sep 7;127(35):12152-3. doi: 10.1021/ja051223y.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Secondary Ion
  • Vitamin E / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E