Tissue Homogenization

As mentioned last week, the first step in cell fractionation is the disruption of the tissue and gentle lysis of the cells. This can be done in several ways: osmotic shock, ultrasonic vibration, or homogenization. Homogenization, one of the most commonly employed techniques for cellular disruption, is a process in which fluid shearing is used to disrupt the plasma membrane of cells. It is the most common technique used to lyse the cells of soft tissues, such as liver.

There are a variety of different types of tissue homogenizers. Some homogenizers are simple blenders. Others, like the one on the right, use a motor driven pestle to homogenize the tissue in a glass mortar.

One of the most common mortar-pestle style tissue homogenizers is the Potter-Elvehjem tissue homogenizer. The Potter-Elvehjem homogenizer is a glass/teflon homogenizer - the mortar is made of glass, and the pestle is made of teflon. It is often used for the disruption of soft tissues like liver, kidney, and brain tissue.

Cell Biology OLM | Authored by Stephen Gallik, Ph. D. | URL: cellbiologyolm.stevegallik.org | Copyright © 2011 Stephen Gallik, Ph. D.