, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 221–225

Fluorescence microscopy of viable mast cells stained with different concentrations of acridine orange

  • L. D. Love


Freshly harvested rat peritoneal mast cells were stained with different concentrations of acridine orange, a metachromatic fluorochrome known to form complexes with chromatin and mucopolysaccharides. Fluorescence metachromasia was observed in cytoplasmic granules in cell populations with intracellular dye contents as low as 5×10−16 mole per cell, one-half decade lower than required to produce metachromatic staining of the nucleus. Cytoplasmic granules did not stain uniformly throughout the cell; some granules exhibited red fluorescence and others green. As the amount of acridine orange uptake per cell was increased, cytoplasmic fluorescence became uniformly red and nuclear fluorescence gradually changed from green to yellow.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bertalanffy, L. von: Acridine orange fluorescence in cell physiology, cytochemistry and medicine. Protoplasma 57, 51–83 (1963)Google Scholar
  2. Bradley, D.F., Wolf, M.K.: Aggregation of dyes bound to polyanions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 45, 944–952 (1959)Google Scholar
  3. Combs, J.W., Lagunoff, D., Benditt, E.P.: Differentiation and proliferation of embryonic mast cells of the rat. J. Cell Biol. 25, 557–592 (1965)Google Scholar
  4. DeBruyn, P.P.H., Robertson, R.C., Farr, R.S.: In vivo affinity of diaminoacridines for nuclei. Anat. Rec. 108, 279–304 (1950)Google Scholar
  5. Hill, R.B., Bensch, K.G., King, D.W.: Unimpaired mitosis in cells with modified deoxyribonucleic acid. Nature 184, 1429–1430 (1959)Google Scholar
  6. Lagunoff, D.: The mechanism of histamine release from mast cells. Biochem. Pharmacol. 21, 1889–1896 (1963)Google Scholar
  7. Lagunoff, D.: Analysis of dye binding sites in mast cells. Biochemistry 13, 3982–3986 (1974)Google Scholar
  8. Lagunoff, D., Phillips, M.T., Iseri, O.A., Benditt, E.P.: Isolation and preliminary characterization of rat mast cell granules. Lab. Invest. 13, 1331–1334 (1964)Google Scholar
  9. Love, L.D.: A study of the interaction of acridine orange with rat mast cells. Dissertation, University of Alabama in Birmingham (1975)Google Scholar
  10. Price, G.P., Schwartz, S.: Fluorescence microscopy. In: Physical Techniques in Biological Research, Vol. III. G. Oster, and A.W. Pollister (eds.). New York: Academic Press 1956Google Scholar
  11. Selye, H.: The mast cells. London: Butterworth 1965Google Scholar
  12. Steiner, R.F., Beers, R.F.: Polynucleotides, V. Titration and spectrophotometric studies upon the interaction of synthetic polynucleotides with various dyes. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 81, 75–92 (1959)Google Scholar
  13. Veilleux, R.: Acridine orange fluorescence of mast cells as influenced by fixation. Histochemie 23, 319–327 (1970)Google Scholar
  14. West, S.S.: Fluorescence microspectrophotometry of supravitally stained cells. In: Physical Techniques in Biological Research, Vol. III C.A.W. Pollister (ed.) New York: Academic Press 1969Google Scholar
  15. Zanker, V.: Über den Nachweis definierter reversibler Assoziate (“reversible Polymerizate”) des Acridinorange durch Absorptions- und Fluoreszenzmessungen in wäßriger Lösung. Z. Phys. Chem. 199, 225–258 (1952)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. D. Love
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Dental MaterialsTemple University, School of DentistryPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations