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Abstract

Colloidal gold was used as a marker for immunoelectron microscopy to localize lactoferrin (LF) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) in human peripheral blood neutrophils. Cells were reacted with monospecific antibodies against LF or MPO and then with gold-labeled antiglobulin. MPO cytochemistry was also associated with immunologic detection of LF. Immunologic labeling of thin sections after embedding in glycol methacrylate gave good ultrastructural morphology and specific localization of both proteins. MPO was detected in the large azurophil granules, whereas LF was consistently localized in the matrix of another population of morphologically distinct granules, smaller and more numerous than azurophil granules. When cytochemical detection of MPO was coupled with immunologic detection of LF, LF was observed in the population of MPO-negative granules, which were identified as specific. This was confirmed on cells that were permeabilized with saponin and stained for LF and MPO before embedding. No other neutrophil organelles displayed labeling for LF; other blood cells also were unreactive for LF. In the bone marrow, myeloblast and promyelocyte granulations were not stained and LF-containing granules appeared at the myelocyte stage. In conclusion, we confirm previous biochemical and light microscopic studies by ultrastructural demonstration of LF and MPO in two categories of granules, the specific and azurophil granules, respectively. The method described in this article avoids disruption caused by cell fractionation procedures. In the future, other intragranular proteins can be localized by a similar approach.