Letter | Published:

Use of Tetrazolium Compounds in Oxidative Enzyme Histo- and Cyto- chemistry

Naturevolume 192pages990991 (1961) | Download Citation



A NEW tetrazolium salt previously synthesized has been evaluated for its ability to overcome the technical and theoretical barriers of either the MTT-Co (ref. 1) or nitro-BT methods2,3. This compound is TNBT or 2,2′,5-5′-tetra-p-nitrophenyl-3,3′ -(3,3′ -dimethoxy-4,4′-biphenylene)-ditetrazolium chloride (Fig. 1), the formazan of which is purplish black4. The TNBT used in the following investigations produced a brownish-black precipitate in tissue sections. Though quite low in water solubility, minimal concentrations of TNBT are required for the effective demonstration of the succinic dehydrogenase system in fresh, frozen sections of tissue of mammalian tissues or human vaginal smear preparations. The following were investigated in mouse myocardium and kidney: (1) effect of concentration of dye on the products of TNBT formazan in slices of these tissues; (2) effect of pH. on the reduction of TNBT by the succinic dehydrogenase system in tissue sections in the presence or absence of appropriate substrate; (3) solubility of TNBT formazan in aqueous, alcoholic and other organic solvents necessary for the effective resin-mounting of sections of tissue containing precipitates of formazan.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Pearse, A. G. E., Histochemistry, Theoretical and Applied, second ed. (J. and A. Churchill, London, 1959).

  2. 2

    Nachlas, M. M., Tsou, K. C., DeSouza, E., Cheng, C. S., and Seligman, A. M., J. Histochem. and Cytochem., 5, 420 (1957).

  3. 3

    Nachlas, M. M., Walker, D. G., and Seligman, A. M., J. Biophys. Biochem. Cytol., 4, 29 (1958).

  4. 4

    Tsou, K. C., Cheng, C. S., Nachlas, M. M., and Seligman, A. M., J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 78, 6139 (1956).

  5. 5

    Sedar, A. W., and Rosa, C. G., J. Ultrastructure Res., 5, 226 (1961).

Download references

Author information


  1. Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy, Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia

    • C. G. ROSA
  2. Dajac Laboratories, Borden Chemical Co., Philadelphia



  1. Search for C. G. ROSA in:

  2. Search for KWAN-CHUNG TSOU in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.