, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 107–114 | Cite as

Acridine orange stabilization of glycosaminoglycans in beginning endochondral ossification

A comparative light and electron microscopic study
  • N. Shepard
  • N. Mitchell


This study indicated that acridine orange, when combined with the initial fixative stabilized soluble matrix glycosaminoglycan in situ in areas where considerable glycosaminoglycan extraction is known to occur. Acridine orange was able to diffuse through bone into areas of undecalcified mineralizing cartilage and to bind with the glycosaminoglycans in these areas equally well as in growth plate cartilage matrix. Matrix staining was visible by light microscopy without further staining and was seen to vary territorially in intensity; although cellular definition was poor. This deficiency was overcome by the additional application of p phenylenediamine, which stained the cells intensely. At the ultrastructure level, glycosaminoglycan was present as electron dense structures in the cartilage matrix. Preliminary X-ray microanalysis studies confirmed that the acridine orange stained structures contain sulphur; this finding extends the use of acridine orange further to quantitative analysis of glycosaminoglycan.


Growth Plate Glycosaminoglycan Acridine Acridine Orange Cartilage Matrix 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Shepard
    • 1
  • N. Mitchell
    • 2
  1. 1.Electron Microscopy UnitShriners Hospital for Crippled ChildrenMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryRoyal Victoria HospitalMontrealCanada

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