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In this study the problems encountered in staining immunoglobulin (Ig) in sections of paraffin-embedded human lymphoma samples have been investigated. It was found that the "masking' of cytoplasmic Ig, which occurs when tissues are fixed in formol saline (the fixative employed in most previous studies), can be avoided by the use of mercury-based fixatives. When non-Hodgkin's lymphoma samples fixed in this way were studied it was found that cytoplasmic Ig labelling of both lymphoid and histiocytic cells is often attributable to non-specific uptake of serum proteins. This phenomenon probably accounts for a number of published anomalous immunoperoxidase staining results in human lymphoma (e.g. the presence of both kappa and lambda chains in the same neoplastic cell). Double immunoenzymatic labelling (using alkaline phosphatase and peroxidase) proved valuable in the elucidation of this phenomenon. When staining due to absorbed Ig was discounted it was possible to demonstrate monoclonal Ig labelling in seven out of sixteen cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In each case IgM was found in association with a single light chain type and these results were in agreement with those obtained by direct immunofluorescent labelling of cryostat sections. In a further case u chains without associated light chains were demonstrated by immunoperoxidase staining. Seven cases of Hodgkin's disease were studied by immunoenzymatic techniques. Although IgG was frequently found in Reed-Sternberg and Hodgkin's cells its presence was not attributable to non-specific uptake of serum protein since albumin was absent or only present in small amounts. These findings are in support of the macrophage origin of these cells.


Journal article


Clinical and experimental immunology

Publication Date





235 - 248


Humans, Lymphoma, Hodgkin Disease, Serum Albumin, Immunoglobulins, Immunoglobulin G, Fixatives, Immunoenzyme Techniques