Selective staining of chromatin in hematogenous lymphocytes in nodes


  • This investigation was supported by American Cancer Society, Massachusetts Division, Inc. grant 1125-C-1, U. S. Public Health Service grant C-2322 and by U. S. Atomic Energy Commission Contract AT(30-1)-901 with the New England Deaconess Hospital (NYO-901-28).


Lymphocytes with “atypical nuclei” have been shown to increase in lymph nodes during afferent drainage ('64). This report concerns the selective staining of these nuclei with the MBL technique (exposure of methylene blue stained sections to alcoholic Lugol's solution).

Comparisons with other techniques, together with suitable extractive procedures, lead to the conclusion that chromatin throughout the hematogenous series of lymphocytes is subject to two general forms of selective response to the MBL technique during lymphatic drainage. These are distinguished by differences in: 1, time required for staining with the iodine solution; 2, morphology; and 3, ease of dedifferentiation.

The first response (unpatterned, coarse, intranuclear granules) occurs in older hematogenous lymphocytes only, after brief exposures, and varies in ease of dedifferentiation.

The second response (intranuclear, reticulated figures) occurs in hematogenous lymphocytes of any age, after long exposures to iodine, and is slow to dedifferentiate. The figures uniformly conform to the reticular patterns of inter- and prophase, and become condensed as cell volumes decrease.

The findings show that fluctuant, dynamic relationships exist among hematogenous lymphocytes in nodes :- unidentified factors become associated with their chromatin and result in selective nuclear staining; the chromatin becomes restricted to reticular positions and mitoses cease; cell volumes shrink progressively; nucleo-cytoplasmic ratios increase; and intranuclear structures become condensed. Yet evidences of degeneration are not found.