Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 403, Issue 1, pp 47–49 | Cite as

Identification of mitochondria-rich cells in unstained vital preparations of epithelia by autofluorescence

  • M. Köhler
  • E. Frömter
Transport Processes, Metabolism and Endocrinology; Kidney, Gastrointestinal Tract, and Exocrine Glands


To recognize mitochondria-rich cells in unstained vital preparations of heterogeneously composed epithelia we report here the use of an autofluorescence technique. Upon illumination with wavelengths of 400–440 or 450–490 nm mitochondria-rich cells emit fluorescence light of wave-lengths of >470 or >520 nm respectively, which probably arises from flavoproteins. Illumination does not seem to impair cell function and the fluorescence does not show any sign of fading over observation times of 20 min or greater. The method allows us to identify parietal cells from chief cells in gastric glands and obviously also intercalated cells from principal cells in renal collecting ducts. It might also be useful in other epithelia.

Key words

Heterogeneous epithelia Mitochondria-rich cells Parietal cells Intercalated cells Autofluorescence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Köhler
    • 1
  • E. Frömter
    • 2
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für BiophysikFrankfurt 70Federal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Zentrum der PhysiologieKlinikum der J. W. Goethe-UniversitätFrankfurt 70Federal Republic of Germany

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