The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 291–301 | Cite as

Histochemical investigations of the accumulation of lipids in heart papillary muscle

  • M. Alavaikko
  • J. Hirvonen


The lipid composition and fatty change of the papillary muscle, arterioles and chordae tendineae of the left cardiac ventricle of sixty-two patients who had died of various diseases in hospital were analysed qualitatively by histochemical techniques and thin-layer chromatography.

The histochemical techniques revealed considerable differences in the fatty change of the myocardium, arterioles and chordae tendineae. The myocardial change seems to be due solely to accumulation of triglycerides. The fatty change in the chordae tendineae appears to be the result mainly of accumulation of cholesterol esters and, to some extent, of free fatty acids. The arteriolar fatty change arises mainly from accumulation of cholesterol esters and some triglycerides. The myocardial and arteriolar fatty change is greatest at the tip of the papillary muscle.

The results of thin-layer chromatography showed that the lipid composition of the papillary muscle was qualitatively highly constant. The triglycerides and free fatty acid content varied.

The osmium tetroxide-α-naphthylamine technique, which indicates phospholipids, stained the cardiac and arteriolar muscle fibres uniformly. No focal staining, suggestive of fatty change, was noted.

All three tissue sites studied reacted with Baker's acid Haematein test. Staining was focal and clearly associated with fatty change. The results observed suggested that Baker's acid Haematein test is not specific for phospholipids, but it may stain neutral fats and cholesterol esters whenever large amounts of these are present in a tissue.


Triglyceride Free Fatty Acid Osmium Lipid Composition Fatty Acid Content 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Alavaikko
    • 1
  • J. Hirvonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology and Forensic MedicineUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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