Biotechnic & histochemistry : official publication of the Biological Stain Commission

Staining of intracellular deposits of uranium in cultured murine macrophages.

PMID 11871745


In our studies of the health effects of internalized depleted uranium, we developed a simple and rapid light microscopic method to stain specifically intracellular uranium deposits. Using J774 cells, a mouse macrophage line, treated with uranyl nitrate and the pyridylazo dye 2-(5-bromo-2-pyridylazo)-5-diethylaminophenol, uranium uptake by the cells was followed. Specificity of the stain for uranium was accomplished by using masking agents to prevent the interaction of the stain with other metals. Prestaining wash consisting of a mixture of sodium citrate and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid eliminated staining of metals other than uranium. The staining solution consisted of the pyridylazo dye in borate buffer along with a quaternary ammonium salt, ethylhexadecyldimethylammonium bromide, and the aforementioned sodium citrate/ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid mixture. The buffer was essential for maintaining the pH within the optimum range of 8 to 12, and the quaternary ammonium salt prevented precipitation of the dye. Staining was conducted at room temperature and was complete in 30 min. Staining intensity correlated with both uranyl nitrate concentration and incubation time. Our method provides a simple procedure for detecting intracellular uranium deposits in macrophages.

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2-(5-Bromo-2-pyridylazo)-5-(diethylamino)phenol, 97%