Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 177–184 | Cite as

Ultrastructural localization and chemical binding of silver ions in human organotypic skin cultures

  • Søren KristiansenEmail author
  • Peter Ifversen
  • Gorm Danscher
Original Paper


Organotypic cultures of human breast skin incubated with silver bandage or treated with silver sulfadiazine accumulated silver in epithelial cells and in macrophages, fibroblasts and collagen fibrils and fibres of underlying connective tissue. Ultrastructurally, the accumulated silver was found in lysosome-like vesicles of the different cells and evenly spread along collagen structures. Apoptotic nuclei were present but few. Autometallographic amplification of 2D-PAGE gels revealed that glutathione S-transferase and glutathion detoxify silver ions in the epidermal cell by binding them in silver–sulphur nanocrystals. Thus, the cytotoxic effect of silver ions seems to be muted by silver ions by being: (1) taken up by undamaged cells, neutralised by glutathione (GSH) and accumulated in lysosomal vesicles, (2) bound extracellularly to SH-groups of the collagen fibres.


Silver Wound healing Glutathione S-transferase Autometallography Multiple resistance proteins Gluthatione 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Søren Kristiansen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Ifversen
    • 1
  • Gorm Danscher
    • 2
  1. 1.Wound & Skin Care, Cell GroupHumlebækDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Neurobiology, Institute of AnatomyUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark

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