Scanning Microscopy


Mast cells around the thymus of rats stain red with alcian blue and safranin indicating that the mast cells are probably of the peritoneal (connective tissue) type. After the onset of streptozotocin induced diabetes some cells contain both red and blue granules and blue staining cells may appear.

X-ray microanalysis of frozen freeze-dried sections from diabetic male CSE Wistar rats showed electron dense granules to have similar amounts of S to normal rat mast cell granules but reduced levels of Na, Mg, P, Cl and K. Two cells also had electron lucent granules with very high levels of Na, Cl, K and Ca and reduced concentrations of S.

The differences in elemental composition suggest that the mast cells from diabetic rats are not immature, but are related to the condition of induced diabetes, and that granules of very different composition can occur within a single cell.

X-ray microanalysis has given an insight into mast cell granule elemental content which was not possible by conventional biochemical methods.

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