Virchows Archiv B

, 59:48 | Cite as

Autometallographic demonstration of gold in the adrenal gland of rats exposed to sodium aurothiomalate

A light and electron microscopic study
  • Elin Hyldgaard Poulsen
  • Bjarne Møller-Madsen


The presence of gold was investigated in sections of the adrenal glands from rats which had been exposed to intraperitoneal sodium aurothiomalate (32 to 120 mg). Gold was histochemically detected in cortical endocrine cells, chromaffin cells and in fibroblasts and macrophages of both the cortex and medulla. Invisible traces of gold were silver enhanced by autometallography making them readily visible at both the light and electron microscopic levels. The intracellular staining intensity was dose-dependent. In general, the number as well as the staining intensity of individual cells, were highest in the zona glomerulosa and zona reticularis. In gold-containing cells the silver-amplified deposits were present in lysosomes.

Key words

Sodium aurothiomalate Rat Adrenal Lysosomes Autometallography 


  1. Bertrand JJ, Waine H, Tobias CA (1948) Distribution of gold in the animal body in relation to arthritis. J Lab Clin Med 33:1133–1138PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Burton GV, Meikle AW (1980) Acute and chronic methyl mercury poisoning impairs rat adrenal and testicular function. J Toxicol Environ Health 6:597–606PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chipman JJ, Boyar RM, Fink CW (1982) Anterior-pituitary adrenal function of gold-treated patients with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. J Rheumatol 9:63–68PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Danscher G (1981) Localization of gold in biological tissue. A photochemical method for light and electron microscopy. Histochemistry 71:81–88PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Danscher G, Hansen HJ, Møller-Madsen B (1984) Energy dispersive X-ray analysis of gold after silver amplification by physical development. Histochemistry 81:283–285PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Danscher G, Rytter Nøgaard JO, Baatrup E (1987) Autometallography: Tissue metals demonstrated by a silver enhancement kit. Histochemistry 86:465–469PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elfvin LG (1965) The fine structure of the cell surface of chromaffin cells in the rat adrenal medulla. J Ultrastruct Res 12:263–286PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ghadially FN (1979) The aurosome. J Rheumatol [Suppl 5] 6:45–50Google Scholar
  9. Gottlieb NL, Smith PM, Smith EM (1972) Tissue gold concentration in a rheumatoid arthritic receiving chrysotherapy. Arthritis Rheum 15:16–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Graudal H, Møller-Madsen B, Danscher G (1988) Autometallographic demonstration of gold in rheumatoid synovial tissue. Z Rheumatol 47:347–350PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Henkin RI (1976) Trace metals in endocrinology In “Medical Clinics, North America” 60:779–797Google Scholar
  12. Møller-Madsen B, Thorlacius-Ussing O (1984) Localization of gold in the anterior pituitary gland of rats exposed to sodium aurothiomalate. Exp Mol Pathol 41:74–80PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Møller-Madsen B, Mogensen SC, Danscher G, Rungby J, Thorlacius-Ussing O, Graudal H (1985a) Mouse peritoneal cells exposed to sodium aurothiomalate in vivo. Int J Tiss Res VII: 439–442Google Scholar
  14. Møller-Madsen B, Simonsen OH, Doss DN, Danscher G (1985b) Gold in the ovary of rats exposed to sodium aurothiomalate. Exp Mol Pathol 42:287–292PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Møller-Madsen B, Danscher G, Uldbjerg N, Allen JG (1987) Autometallographic demonstration of gold in human fetal liver and placenta. Rheumatol Int 7:47–48PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nathanson JA, Bloom FE (1976) Heavy metals and adenosine cyclic 3′, 5′-monophosphate metabolism; possible relevance to heavy metal toxicity. Mol Pharmacol 12:390–398PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Nemes Z (1976) The cytoarchitecture of the adrenal medulla in the rat. Acta Morphol Acad Sci Hung 24:47–61PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Nishiyama S, Takata T (1982) Effects of cadmium on the level of serum corticosterone and adrenocortical function in male and female rats. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 37:65–79PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Norton WL, Lewis DC, Ziff M (1968) Electron-dense deposits following injections of gold sodium thiomalate and thiomalic acid. Arthr Rheum ii: 436–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Persellin RH, Ziff M (1966) The effects of gold salts on lysosomal enzymes of the peritoneal macrophage. Arthritis Rheum 9:57–65PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rasmussen BL, Thorlacius-Ussing O (1987) Ultrastructural localization of mercury in adrenals from rats exposed to methyl mercury. Virchows Arch [B] 52:529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Suketa Y, Ujiie M, Okada S (1982) Alteration of sodium and potassium mobilization and of adrenal function by long term ingestion of lead. Biochem Pharmacol 31:2913–2919PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Vernon-Roberts B, Doré JL, Jessop JD, Henderson WJ (1976) Selective concentration and localization of gold in macrophages of synovial and other tissues during and after chrysotherapy in rheumatoid patients. Ann Rheum Dis 35:447–486Google Scholar
  24. Ward JR, Williams HJ, Egger MJ, Reading JC, Boyce E, Altz-Smith M, Samuelson CO, Willkens RF, Salsky MA, Hayes SP, Blocka KL, Weinstein A, Meenan RF, Guttadauria M, Kaplan SB, Kippel J (1983) Comparison of auranofin, gold sodium thiomalate, and placebo in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Arthrit Rheum 26:1303–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elin Hyldgaard Poulsen
    • 1
  • Bjarne Møller-Madsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurobiology, Institute of AnatomyUniversity of AarhusAarhus CDenmark

Personalised recommendations